Like a girl.

True story. When Big Red and I went in for our 20 week ultrasound, the big one that reveals gender, I was certain we were having a boy. Years before I’d even gotten pregnant, I had a “feeling” I’d be having a boy. This had long since been confirmed by a bearded man who held my hand on the strand in Venice Beach, CA, in the summer of 1999. After placing rough-edged stones in my palm, turning them, and with his finger, tracing the lines that had worked themselves into my flesh after 21 years, he said, “You will have a boy and a girl, in that order.”

Done. The bearded oracle proclaimed it so. So you can imagine my disbelief when the ultrasound technician announced we were having a girl. My reaction was literally along the lines of: Are you serious? Really? Really. We were having a girl. It was a plot twist for which I hadn’t planned. Our baby’s gender still hadn’t sunk in that afternoon as I shopped the isles of Target looking for a ribbon and some bow to tie around my belly for the gender reveal to family and friends I’d been planning. It was not until I was standing in line ready to check out that I realized I’d grabbed a blue bow and ribbon.

Having always been a fervent liberal and champion of women’s rights, the bra-burning, Rosie the Riveter in me kicked into overdrive.  And because I am a woman of action, I quickly took this girl business by the reigns, jumped two feet in, and haven’t looked back since.  My daughter’s room is painted in a bold navy color and is decorated with images of her great-grandmothers, Amelia Earhart, Wonder Woman, and Frida Kahlo. Lucy has the traditional ABC style books, as well as Rad American Women A-Z. Her current favorite letter is “O” for Odetta Holmes. Her little bird voice can be heard saying, “O-detta, O-detta.” She wears a mix of boys and girls clothes, and every night before she goes to bed I say to her: What’s the best part of Lucy? Her head and her heart, because she thinks with her head and loves with her heart. She knows this ritual and pats both her head and heart when she hears the words. My girl is brimming with moxie, she is fearless, and cultivating some sass. In moments of frustration, I try really hard to remind myself that all those qualities will serve and empower her well as she learns to bust through and shatter any glass ceiling she encounters.

To say that I’m hell-bent on raising a woman who knows that her worth does not begin or end with her looks, that her strong thighs will be what propels her to run harder and faster (past the boys), and that she will stand up to those who attempt to keep her down – is an understatement of paramount proportions. While I definitely steer away from an overabundance of pink, frills, and princesses, I will never stop her from those things. That’ll be her prerogative, and the days she chooses glitter over grime, I'll get fancy with her.

Since birthing my daughter, I’ve also become keenly aware of the rising trend in incredibly empowering campaigns to promote women. As I come across them, I’ve bookmarked the clips for future use and reference, and because I fiercely hope that we all continue to champion strong women, know strong women, and raise strong women – they are all here for you.

Like A Girl (love, love, love)

And because Mother’s Day is just around the bend, here are some campaigns to remind us that mothers need to be celebrated often, and even when they are taken for granted – lord knows I’ve done so plenty of times with my own – they are still there for us. Sacrificing, worrying, protecting, and loving us. Always.

Now play THIS. Loudly. Rock on.

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