On raising a daughter.

I always imagined that I'd be raising a houseful of rowdy, hyper and somewhat feral boys. Long shaggy hair, always barefoot and covered in dirt, wanting nothing more than to spend hours outside shooting bows and arrows and building things with their dad. I'd do all my grocery shopping at Costco during the teenage years and maybe I'd see some high school football and basketball games in my future. That Y chromosome has always rested heavy on both sides of our family, so I was sure that many little men were in my future. I had given birth to one, and he's hyena-wild with a tender, gentle streak. I imagined many more after him.

Imagine my surprise when I found out I was having a little girl. 

A girl?! What the hell am I supposed to do about THAT? Sure, I went through a Barbie stage, but that quickly made way for Air Jordans and ratty ponytails and every sport known to man. Even now, I curl my hair from time to time and know a good shade of lipstick when I see one, but I'm not exactly your classic, feminine woman. Make no mistake, I'm quite okay with that, but I'm not quite sure what to do about raising a little girl, nurturing her into a young woman.

And what am I supposed to do if, heaven forbid, my daughter wants to be a cheerleader? 

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I still have quite a few years to figure that out, but I'm pretty sure I've got an idea of what I'd do.

I'd love it. I'd buy the pom-poms and the pleated skirt, pull her hair back into a tight ponytail and tie the ribbon tight. I'll go to football games and watch her cheer on the sidelines - she's tall, so she'll likely be near the bottom of the pyramid. I'll proudly smile and hug her after the game and tell her how much I love watching her cheer. 

She very well may never be a cheerleader. Maybe she'll be in the marching band. Or maybe she'll perform in musicals, or maybe she'll play sports like her mom did. Maybe I'll be going to piano or violin recitals or maybe I'll even watch her in Debate Club or Mathletes. Maybe she'll fly of ski jumps, spin on rails, and huck herself off cliffs like her dad (please God, no.)

Or, maybe, she won't do any of that. I have no idea. 

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The girl I imagined raising, she was dainty and quiet, the opposite of her brother - not nearly as active and a bit more demure. Scout is absolutely none of those things. She is the wild, feral child. She climbs on everything and throws fits and man, is she LOUD. She's curious and feisty and never stops moving. She is perpetually covered in dirt and snot, her shaggy hair is always crusted with some sort of food. I still try to dress her in cute clothes, and her hair is getting really long in the front, so it's time to start buying clips and barrettes and maybe even little bows. She'll probably rip them out, and even her cute dresses are getting stained with dirt and random substances found on the floor of our house. 

I'm only a year into raising a little girl, and I can tell you that so far, it's nothing like I imagined.

But, it is certainly everything that I had hoped for.

And no matter what she decides to do with her life, no matter what activities she chooses to do, I'll be there, cheering her on wildly from the sidelines. 

I may even buy pom-poms.