Monday, June 06, 2016

Just Enough

We are the daughters who spent our girlhoods watching our mothers teach us what it meant to be women:
Pretty (enough so that mothers-in-law can preen over their collection of aesthetically pleasing daghters-in-law; but not enough to be beautiful, lest she be accused of vanity)
Smart (enough to raise four children, to care for them and teach them, to learn the cruel lessons of the real world; but not enough to be educated, to ever have hope of sitting in a classroom and delight in debates on history and sociology and art and science)
Strong (enough to not cry when they left home for a new country of strangers; enough to give birth to one, two, three children alone; enough to not flinch at the casual callousness and unintentional cruelty of husbands; but not enough to say no, not enough to raise her voice, not enough to be her own champion)
Patient (enough to endure years of being taken for granted, enough to bear the burdens of everyone else around her; enough to be a loyal and faithful wife; but not enough to keep the taste of bitterness out of her tea and off her tongue, not enough to keep hope in herself alive, not enough to remember that patience doesn't always mean suffering)
We are the girls who watched our mothers and learned that to be a woman meant to be just pretty enough, just smart enough, just strong enough, just patient enough... but never more than that.
After all, a woman who is more than pretty and more than smart and more than strong and more than patient is no longer a woman - she is more than a woman, and for all that our mothers love us, they fear their daughters becoming more than the women they were themselves.
Remember, daughters: be just enough, and never more, lest you betray your mothers' sacrifices.

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