“My goodness,” I say, toweling her off. “You really are getting taller.”
Daughter lifts her arms up to the sky and proclaims, “Look at me, Mommy! I’m a STRONG WOMAN!” I start laughing and she laughs too. “Okay, I’m not a strong woman, I’m not a woman yet. I’m still a little girl!”
“You are,” I say. “But you’re going to grow up to be a strong woman. You know why?”
“Why?” she asks as she turns to face me.
I towel off her face and her shoulders. “Because Mommy’s a strong woman. And my mommy’s a strong woman. And you know what? My grandmother Abi was a strong woman too.” I touch her nose. “It runs in the family.”
“I’m going to be a strong woman!” she proclaims.
I brush her hair. “Yes, you are. Now go on there, strong girl.”
I watch her dart off, howling, “YIPPEE!” and think about my mother and my grandmother, who fled a country in revolutionary chaos to build new lives in a foreign land. I grew up thinking that blood flowed through my veins: the blood of immigrants, the blood of survivors. I’m not a tough person by nature, but it gave me courage.
It gave me strength.
Now it’s time for me to pass it on.
I hear her from the other room, talking to her paternal grandmother: “I’m going to be a strong woman!”
Yes, love. Yes, you are. And I’ll do everything in my power to help you make it so.