By: Madison Sneath
But the oldest keeps getting older.Last birthday, I gave her first phone.Now, everyday, She observes strangers,While looking in the mirrorAsking to shop for new clothesAnd make-up,Aspiring to skinny girlsOn her screen.
I want so badly to say yes.I want to give her the world.I want my “#1 Dad” mugThey gave me on ChristmasTo ring true to them every nightWhen I tuck them in.
But I want more than anythingTo say no.To keep her safe from boysAt school who will look at her differentWhen she wears a shirtThat shows she’s been through puberty,The stares that will follow herIf her hips swinging down the hallsAren’t covered enough.
How do I say no?How do I protect herWithout making her fearThat her appearance is“Asking for it”.
I know that’s wrong,I do,But yesterday the youngestCame home from preschoolClaiming “no means yes”.
Her preschool teacherTells me I’ve got work to do.I need to tame her.She goes around at theEnd of recess kissing all The boys she calls her Boyfriends on the cheekBut they don’t want to be kissed.She kisses them anyways.
How am I supposed toExplain to this mind,So care-free,How much “no means yes”Could hurt her?
My girl in the middle,Well, she’s in the middle.The disgusting in betweenOf curiosity and judgement.
She says all the girls at schoolCall her fat.
How am I supposed toTell her she’s not fat?That she’s got every one of her mom’sBeautiful curves and in a few yearsEvery man on the streetIs going to look at herLike they have the rightTo own those curves.
Three daughters,Young, hopeful.Choreographing dances,Squeezing to each haveA spot in the mirror.
Stay like this forever.
I don’t want to feel the rageI know I’m gonna feelWhen one of themTells me a story Of the first boy whoDisrespected her,Who believed“No means yes”And who I couldn’t stop.
The guilt pains me,Knowing I was once the boyFathers feared.Knowing there’s so manyMore that still know no better.
Three daughters,Young, hopeful.Anxious for the dayThey get to sneak outTo be with their boyfriend.
I want to do right by them.I need to do right by them.