(This is being published from JFK, despite the ungodly hour of the morning and the painfully inconvenient commute that got me here. What’s that, haters?! V can’t hear you!):
As I depart from the significant New York loves of my insignificant life and return to my younger affairs on the West Coast, I dedicate my words to those that will come after: the young girls (whether I know them or not) that have intertwined their tiny, merely transparent fingers with the arteries of my heart and the female offspring of my strictly selected Club of Comrades. To the East Indian girl child that, at the first second of our meeting in NY’s capital, became my shadow; invaded my writing space—unaware that a woman could claim that—and watched my every keyboard tap; then ran off to get her own paper and a red crayon. To the adored blondie born to my feminist mentor in New Jersey whose Happily Ever After happened with a woman; and who by her mere existence, gave me the courage to write my own love stories. And to the unfamiliar brown girl with snowflakes in her curls who followed her mother that leapt into a random elevator ride in Manhattan; who then persevered past the awkward silence inside, examined the crowd and exclaimed:
“Oh gosh! It’s like all girls in here!” making the rest of the women—some radically young, others aged past their youthful anxiety—laugh and yelp and howl; uncensored and relieved, if just for a minute.
First, to my brown god-daughter back in Albany: May your path be filled with obvious choices that lead you to your better self. May your soul be fueled by the gods of the old country, but your mind—by those of the new. May your mother’s unconditional love open paths for you that were never possible in her own youth; but may you always be exposed to the confidence a woman is granted when persevering through conflicts. You will be my next Jhumpa Lahiri, or M.I.A., or Sonia Gandhi. May you become whoever and whatever you desire; but when asked what that is, may you be able to say, “Why not?” rather than “May I?” I pray the world is made out of non-existent doorways for you and walkways paved with “YES”; and that sometimes, you will tread with me (I—in my Siberian coat, you—with stubborn rainbow colors on your mittens and henna on your hands) to show me your future world, as I show the aged yet unexhausted one of mine.
To the sporty, curious, poignant Irish-Jewish cherub in the City of Angels (and the author of this blog’s title): Because your parents have suffered enough to fulfill your own life’s quota, may it never get in the way of your possibilities. May you never lose the insatiable need to repeat a question, or to touch another woman’s skin just to understand what it’s like to be in it. NEVER apologize for your art! As the multitude of imperfect adults guards your life from repeating their mistakes, I shall gladly lead you past my own. I’ll tell you the tales of my survival and show that a woman may stand by her failed choices, because overcoming them makes a soul light enough to soar. So, may you soar, my strong youngster, sometimes in step with me, but mostly ahead. If ever gravity gets a hold of you, I shall catch you from falling—if you let me. But this I ask of you regardless (because you shall always remain exceptional, I’m sure)—teach me about the ways I have not seen and the tricks my wings have yet to try.
To the tomboy born to a woman of tremendous kindness: May you always be ahead of your time! When asked by your teachers, may you tag yourself however, but always understand yourself as “special.” May you continue to climb, much faster and more capable than your parents. Upward, my darling heart, always upward; even though gravity may insist otherwise. Never cry when you fall down, neither in a playground nor in an office full of suits; and always celebrate the pain, for in those very seconds, you learn to shift gears. May you always outrun and outsmart your own age group and leave me scratching my head with your riddles.