My son and his partner welcomed a new daughter on April 13th. Like any grandmother, I am gratified to see my family extended and overwhelmed with love. As an out lesbian, my dreams and hopes for my granddaughter’s future include experiencing some freedoms that I never had.
My Dearest Keegan,
You are the manifestation of a thousand dreams. I am in awe that you are finally here. Oftentimes, I would stare out the window and daydream of you. I wondered who you would look and act like. Whose personality would you have? Your mother’s or your father’s? You were a part of my dreams that society said would never exist.
At a time when it was not acceptable, I was a little girl determined to love whom I wanted to love, no matter the cost. I lost friends and family and yet I never wavered in who I knew God created me to be. Your great grandmother used to say, “God watches over children and fools.”
Thanks to God’s Grace and Mercy, I survived traumas that no child should ever have to endure. I pray that you never experience the pain and suffering I had to bear to become the woman I am today. My hope is by the time you are old enough to understand these words, the world will have become a better and kinder place.
You came into this world at one of the darkest times of my life. My heart was broken but I refused to allow my spirit to be broken. I prayed for God to send me a sign that He was preparing me for something magnificent. My grandmother used to say, “When there is a death, there is a birth.” Although I did not experience the physical death of a loved one, I experienced the death of what I thought was a love supreme. And then there was you.
I recall the hushed voices of the doctor and nurses in the delivery room when you were born. You came into this world with your eyes wide open. The doctor said you were one of the most alert babies he had ever delivered. In time, your radiant spirit shined through. You were such a happy baby. Your smile … your mere existence made everything better. Life seems so much brighter with you in it. You’ve made me a better, kinder, more forgiving person. Born on the same day as your paternal great grandmother and the same month as your paternal grandfather and my mother, I know you will have a heart of gold.
I love your big brother, Carter, just as much as I love you. And yet, I need to let you know what my hopes and dreams are for you as a female child who will become a woman. This world is a very different place for women. We are expected to carry the weight of the world upon our shoulders and in our wombs. You — like me, my mother, your mother and her mother — stand on the shoulders of the women who came before us. Your mommy, daddy and I will ensure that you are proud of both your African American and your Italian heritage. We will teach you to know your worth even when you are judged based on the color of your skin.
I hope life treats you well. I pray for your strength and guidance as you pursue your dreams. I hope you never dim your light for the comfort of others. I pray that you face your fears head on and watch how quickly they disappear. I pray you are kind to others who are less fortunate than you. You may need a helping hand one day.
Most importantly, I want you to know God. I want you to know that He created you as you are and you are enough. That you are smart enough to become whomever and whatever you chose. That you are courageous enough to love whomever you want to love. That you are strong enough to withstand any storm that comes your way. And when you feel you cannot weather the storm, I want you to know that you have a praying grandmother. I will pray with and for you as our ancestors cover you in their hopes and dreams.
I will love you unconditionally, as my grandmothers loved me.
Monika M. Pickett is a veteran of the United States Army. Her debut novel, PRETTY BOY BLUE is available on Amazon. Pickett is an advocate and activist for the LGBTQ community. For more information on Monika M. Pickett, please visit, www.MonikaMPickett.com. For other inquiries emailinfo@MonikaMPickett.com.