I have two (nearly grown) children. I talk about them a lot but I hardly ever refer to them as my daughters. I call them my kids. Often, when I speak about them to other people I will say ‘My oldest is studying music’ or ‘My youngest plays the drums.’ And often people will ask for clarification. ‘Sons or daughters’?
I respond ‘daughters’, but it never feels quite right to me. I always wonder, what difference does their gender make to this conversation? I know, I know, we want the information so we can form a mental picture. As humans we need to classify things and people, so we can put them in their proper boxes in our brains. I get that.
I also wonder, what exactly does it mean to people when I say the word ‘daughters‘? What ideas have they attached to that word? What images come to mind? Are they soft and sweet? pink and plaited? Are they weaker images than those conjured by the word ‘sons’?
Because while my kids may be females, I have never treated them ‘like girls’. From the moment they were born I have treated them like people. So they are kind and compassionate. They are strong and competitive. They are fierce and ferocious. They are destined for big things, my kids.
Semantics, I know. But words are important to me. So when I say ‘Happy Daughters Day’, know that the images I am hoping to convey are images of strong, independent people who will make their own way in this world; images of endless possibility; images of immense power. And images of love.
Happy Daughters Day.
Here’s the earworm, Pearl Jam’s Daughter.