I was sitting last night on the couch, perusing a book on Christian women mystics that I’m reading for background on the new book. My  twenty-month old little girl crawled up on the couch next to me and looked up at me with that mischievous look she does so well, like she has a secret she doesn’t want to share just yet. I looked at her and couldn’t help smiling. She’s already more little girl than baby, looking at me from under that mop of reddish curls, with those olive brown eyes. Her older brother and her are like the moon and the sun. My son has an even temper, speaks little, observes a lot and senses everything. Behind his stoic facade, he has an enourmous, intense internal life. I always feel the urge to go and make sure he is OK, that his big emotions are not overpowering his little 3 year-old being. My daughter, on the other hand, is all out. She is all happiness or all rage. She tells you what she wants, tells others what to do. She is my spark, born at high noon on Candlemas and we named her Chiara (meaning light in Italian) to honor this light and in honor of the great woman mystic, St-Claire of Assisi. She is so bold and independent that I sometimes feel she doesn’t need me as much as her brother does. Well, she demands different things of me and that is a learning that I have to do as a mother: how to give what each one needs without being unfair to either. I guess you parents understand what I mean.

So there she was cuddling up next to me and looking at me with that “What are you doing?” look. Usually, she would have taken the book away or jumped on me. But tonight she just cuddled as I read my book. It struck me then that we were sharing a special, sacred bond. I was reading about these great women whose teachings have been withheld from us. My daugther had every link to these women, down to her name. She was the essence of those women, bigger than life and strong in conviction. And she would not have to wait to be in her thirties to discover them. That may be my greatest gift to her. She will grow up knowing the names of Thecla, Leoba, Hildegard of Bingen, Julian of Norwich and countless others. She will grow up knowing that we have a tradition of Holy Women who worshiped Lady-God and who lived a life of service and contemplation to unite themselves with Her. She will know that there were Women who spoke when they were told to be quiet and who wrote their wisdom even at the threat of dying. She will know that she is in the image of God just as much as God is an image of her.  I whispered to her, “I’ll show you everything.” and she looked up with a smug little face. That is our sacred bond.

Give your daughters a big hug today!