For All Daughters (but especially mine)

This wonderful poem appeared on my timeline a little while ago and as I prepare for the Playful Baby's first birthday, I have been re reading it constantly. If you want to learn more, please visit the Mighty Girls website, a must for mother's of strong daughters everywhere. 

"For My Daugher" is written by Sarah McMane, a poet and English teacher in upstate New York with a two-year old daughter. Clementine Paddleford, who is quoted in the poem, was an American food writer and journalist active in the early 20th century.


By Sarah McMane

“Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.”

 – Clementine Paddleford

Never wear only pink

Never play the princess when you can

be the queen:

rule the kingdom,

swing a scepter,

wear a crown of gold.

Don’t dance in glass slippers,

crystal carving up your toes --

be a barefoot Amazon instead,

for those shoes will surely shatter on your feet.

when you can strut in crimson red,

sweat in heather grey, and

shimmer in sky blue,

claim the golden sun upon your hair.

Colors are for everyone,

boys and girls, men and women --

be a verdant garden, the landscape of Versailles,

not a pale primrose blindly pushed aside.

Tramp muddy through the house 


 green dragons and one-eyed zombies,

fierce and fiery toothy monsters,

not merely lazy butterflies,

sweet and slow on summer days.

For you can tame the most brutish beasts

with your wily wits and charm,

and lizard scales feel just as smooth

as gossamer insect wings.

a purple tutu and cowboy boots.

Have a tea party in your overalls.

Build a fort of birch branches,

a zoo of Legos, a rocketship of

Queen Anne chairs and coverlets,

first stop on the moon.

Don a baseball cap, dance with Daddy,

Dream of dinosaurs and baby dolls,

bold brontosaurus and bookish Belle,

not Barbie on the runway or

Disney damsels in distress --

you are much too strong to play

the simpering waif.

paint your toenails, climb a cottonwood.

Learn to speak with both your mind and heart.

For the ground beneath will hold you, dear --

know that you are free.

And never grow a wishbone, daughter,

where your backbone ought to be.