Dear Brown-Eyed Girl,
I lay there on the table with the bright lights shining overhead. There is a chill in my veins and the subtle beginnings of tears forming in my eyes. Your father stands silently beside me, his hand placed gently on my forehead. He is wearing a look of overwhelming joy with a faint dusting of fear.
Although my body is asleep, my mind is alive. I think to myself – who is this child?
Moments later I hear you and, by the grace of God, the sounds are strong. Images begin racing through me – a newborn baby, young girl, a teenager, a woman. A daughter we have in you. A daughter with a small, graceful neck and the frailest shoulders.
Your legs are built long and lean, and one bears the small mark of angels just above a tiny little foot. On the end of your featherlike fingers are perfect little nails at which I stare and think that perhaps those angels thought to give you a manicure for your big day.
But mostly it is your eyes, those brown eyes whose loveliness is matched only by their intensity. When they look at me, they are like mirrors.
Two eyes that look so much like mine, shining back at me. I remind myself that although your windows may be the same shape and size, they lead to an entirely different soul. Your eyes are like mine, but you are not me, you simply pass through me.
So I think again – who is this child? What am I to do for you? How am I to move beyond myself and see you for the girl you are and the woman you will become?
I don’t know the answer to these questions, my love. All I know to do is open my own brown eyes and walk beside you through this life for as many steps as I am given. I am tasked with the beautifully bittersweet burden of teaching you about the comedies, tragedies and pitfalls of womanhood. I desperately hope I have the strength to truly see you for who you truly are. Know when I should guide you and when I should turn my back.
This is womanhood, my sweet, and I am standing here right beside you.
Can you see me?
I am right here, only a few steps ahead, trying to figure it out as I go along.
So, I ask myself again – who is this child? What do I see that lies behind your graceful brown eyes?
I see a girl with a fierce spirit. There is a graceful tigress that lives inside you, making you a thing of unspeakable beauty. I hope this fierceness will serve you well as the waves of life batter your shores. As we walk along, sometimes you will want to scratch me when I get too close and sometimes you will huddle beside me and ask me to lick your wounds when it simply hurts too bad.
Who is this child?
You are you, named after a hillside Tuscan town, and it will take the rest of my life and the rest of yours to answer that question.
Can you see me? I am right here.