The One Thing I Want to Tell My Daughter
Rebecca McConville, MS, RD, LD, CSSD
From the day you were born, I would sneak in and just watch you sleep. Your lil’ cherub face lost in dream gave me such a sense of peace. However, I feel like the tides are turning as I watch you peacefully asleep now knowing that you are heading towards a storm that there's nothing I can do to protect you from. You see the truth is this is a cold cruel world at times where you will come to understand “What doesn’t break you only makes you stronger” and this will define the rest of your life.
I think back to some of the challenges I face that you're beginning to face as well. You see what you don't know right now. And those broken hearts and challenges will build the character that will make you who you are and who you may not have turned out to be had you not gone through them.
Starting with how I chuckle at parent-teacher conferences when your teachers express your chattiness in the classroom and your tendencies to be bossy. My parents kindly remind me that the first day of kindergarten they were offered the How to raise the strong-willed Child book. Mom handed it back to the teacher politely telling them “It is just her independence”. I think that was a pivotal part in my life that allowed me to be me. I have never quite fit in, wasn't the most popular girl, and never had a pack of friends. And this is OK as I have real genuine friendships now that would be disappointed if I compromised who I am. You may refer to some of mommy’s friends as “aunties” and they stick around for life.
Then there was the day you were crying over feeling like you had no one to play with at recess and feeling so lonely. Oh boy have I been there and still feel there at times. In Junior high, we moved to a small, rural school where most of the students had grown up together as well as their parents. The kids were let’s say less than inviting at first. I had gum stuck in my hair, called all sorts of names and was never invited to any parties. I refused to feel isolated so I looked to seek anyone that would let me sit with them or would sit with me at lunch. This lesson taught me to always be friendly, find a common denominator and look for the good in everyone. With my career, I use this skill to make valuable connections and empathize with those that feel like they just don’t quite fit in. It wasn’t until I started sports that I found a way to fit in and likely why your Mommy still finds a way to be active in sports whether in career, as a coach or just participating.
As I got older I realized that I was pretty darn boy crazy but yet no one would have guessed it. I believed if I made myself relatable then this would be the way to get the boy’s attention. So I found any pick-up game there was to battle my way to be seen as equal and when needing to make conversation I could recite the ESPN highlight reel from the night before. Unfortunately, all this did was make me the tomboy next door that the guy’s viewed as their best “gal” friend. Then all of a sudden in my junior year these upper-class guys started asking me out. I have to admit... it was strange but I did enjoy for once getting positive attention. Well, the joke was on them when a friend broke the news by giving me a penny bank that was labeled at the top Fort Knox. These guys had started a game to see who could be the first to take my virginity. Since this is my body no one has a right to it let alone to make a game out of it. #mybodymyright
You bet it hurt that I never had a date for prom but this ability to be relatable is what helped me with my career in sport. I can sit at the table with a NFL general manager talk shop and still look feminine while doing so never compromising my body to do so.
When entering college, I had my chance to try this differently by wearing more girl like clothes and putting the occasional makeup on. Finally, it must have worked as I kept noticing someone on the basketball team watching me at practice to find out that he had a crush on ME! He was handsome, intelligent and had a beautiful jumper. I felt like I finally had someone who got me but that was short lived when I would go over to his dorm room at night he was like a different person. He was belligerent, stunk of cheap beer and that kind face turned to stone. One night I had enough and just left. As I turned the corner in the hall I felt this pressure as my shoulder blades were pressed unto the wall. Thank God for that impulsive rage that got me into trouble growing up as it came to protect me. I don’t remember a single thing except my fist hitting the side of his cheek so hard. I rushed back to the dorm that night sitting there trembling but yet numb feeling like the black cloud was back… alone again.
#mybodymyright #almostmetoo He called me the next night as if nothing had happened. I knew in the pit of my stomach he would never change. Years later found out he was in jail for distribution of drugs. Promise me you actually listen to that gut instinct.
Baby girl I can’t protect you from these things happening but I will be here for you. I will promise you that if you let them play out and appreciate the journey you are on that you will eventually have an understanding. Think if it hadn’t been for me giving up on finding true love I wouldn’t have accepted going on a blind, double date to meet your daddy. I never knew true love till I met him and I wouldn’t have you. You make me a better person, better woman as I know I have you watching.
Always two steps behind you just in case.
Rebecca McConville, MS, RD, LD, CSSD is a Master’s Level Registered Dietitian & a Board Certified Sports Specialist. She specializes in the treatment of anorexia, bulimia, compulsive overeating & exercise addiction. She also treats the female athlete triad & athlete-associated disordered eating. Becca understands that the drive for peak performance may lead to disordered eating. Her goal is to help you fuel your body, so that you can fuel your life! Visit her website.