1. I promise that sometimes, I’ll drop the laundry or the computer or the dishes and just play—suit up in my snow gear and build an igloo with you or get on the swing and see which one of us can pump higher. If I ever get caught up in the trappings of grown-up-dom, I’ll look to you to pull me back, because the only thing that comes close to the joy of being a child is the joy of sharing all the things you loved as a child with your own children.
2. I promise to listen to you, and I mean really listen to you. I will never assume that I am more knowledgeable because I am the adult and you are the child; I am constantly surprised by the ingenuity and perceptiveness of children.
3. I will not be tempted to find out your sex before you are born. I will not let anyone predetermine your interests or preferences based on your biology. I will stand up for your right to love dolls or trucks or books or art or science or any combination of those things.
4. When you get older, I will still stand up for your right to love what—and who—you love.
5. I will teach you to cook a meal. I will teach you to do laundry and iron. I will teach you to check your oil and change a tire. I will never assume that you will have someone in your life to do these things for you.
6. I will never tell you to stop asking questions. I will answer as honestly as I can, even if I sometimes have to say “I don’t know.” If I don’t know, we can figure it out together.
7. I promise to teach you how to take care of yourself, and I promise to teach you how to take care of others. And I also promise to teach you how to let someone else take care of you sometimes. You’d be surprised at how difficult that can be.
8. I will hold you to high standards, but I will do my best to base my expectations on what you want for your life, and not how I (or others) think you should live.
9. Even if we don’t have much, we will always have books.
10. Your father and I will do our best to be a shining example of love, respect and equality. I want our relationship to demonstrate that marriage and romance are not mutually exclusive. I hope this will help you be more open to love in the future; it’s better to have an open heart and get hurt that to be closed off to all of the good and bad in the world. I promise that we will always try our best to be kind with each other, to respect the passions, interests and emotions of the other. We will both be breadwinners, we will both be homemakers, and we will both be active and present in your upbringing. I want our relationship to be the ideal for which you strive in your own life. I know this is a tall order, but if we can accomplish this, none of the rest of it matters.
Alecia is a logophile and a library bandit wanted in several states. In addition to feminist rants, she also writes essays, short stories, bad poetry, recipes and very detailed to-do lists. She currently resides in a little blue cabin in Woodstock with one fiancé, one Dachshund and one pleasantly plump cat. Find her tweeting @alecialynn. See her portfolio at eberhardtsmith.com.