MamaBlogger365 – Elegy by Liane Carter

“You have no idea how wonderful it is to have daughters,”

My friend says.

Smug. Salt in the wound.

Six months pregnant, I weep the whole way home.

A woman wants a daughter.

Someone to let you read aloud The Secret Garden.

The longing is palpable:

you can picture them placing the infant girl in your arms,

and you are as grateful

as if your own mother had been given back to you.

In the body politic of boys, there is no one to take your

last pair of pantyhose;

no one to use your makeup;

no one to borrow your best silk blouse without asking.

A bridesmaid, not a bride;

you must tend other women’s daughters.

Sometimes you can laugh. You say,

I want a daughter so someone

will take care of me in my old age.

In darker moments, you wonder:

am I getting the best of my boys now?

You think that in years to come

your daughtered friends will not be lonely.

So you nurture your secret:

the sassy, dark-haired, sensitive, might-have-been daughter

for whom you will never buy a prom dress;

to whom you will never give a copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves

as you send her off to college.

Instead, you stand knee-deep in real life,

raising your boys and knowing with absolute certainty

you would lay down your life for them.

But still.

A woman wants a daughter.

Push the hair out of your eyes, my darling,

you would say,

so I can see your pretty face.

Bio: Liane Kupferberg Carter’s articles and essays have appeared in many publications, including the New York Times, the Huffington Post, Parents, McCall’s, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Skirt!, Babble, Errant Parent, Literary Mama, The Mom Egg and Brevity. She is a 2009 winner of a Memoir Journal Prize, and is currently working on a memoir about raising a child with autism. She blogs at

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One Response to “MamaBlogger365 – Elegy by Liane Carter”
  1. marty says:

    and why can’t you read the secret garden aloud to a boy? I have heard it done as recently as 2 weeks ago.

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