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Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about  becoming a woman of substance and a honorable Godmother – a role physical as well as spiritual. Women are important in so many ways. We raise children and run corporations, from   kitchen industries to Fortune 500 companies.  We lovingly teach children from preschool to college. We give-give give, and juggle schedules and laundry and cooking. We help one another along the way, and then fill the pews at church on Sunday, bringing our families and others we’ve influenced along with us.

My Godmother just spent a weekend with me recently and I had a chance to think about her role in my life as an adult. I realized that even though I am older she is very much a supporting force and role in my life. She consoled me when my mother passed away. She encouraged me through rough times and supported me through confusing frustrating times. Last night over the phone she said something to me that overwhelmed my heart. She said you bring joy to the world as the woman you have become.

I wondered at what moment did I become the type of woman that I always admired growing up. What is it, exactly, that transforms our little girls into the kind of women who go about changing the world, one small corner at a time? How do we keep from crushing that delicate pink enthusiasm within them with our  searing realities and harsh admonitions to “grow up”?  I have three beautiful Goddaughters of my own now. How do I nurture this flame of faith and hope? I see in them love, kindness and respect and recall how those things were nurtured within me.

I want to protect them and all those other little girls I know– from the cynicism of the world. I want to keep them in Eden, away from the apple of “reality,” but I know it’s not possible. As a little girl, I remember thinking it was POSSIBLE to grow up to be a princess, or something equally important. I’m not sure when that aspiration got squashed. But now I look at my niece’s pink room and I feel a glimmer of hope. Ours is a sacred responsibility. These girls are flowers, with petals forming and colors beginning to show. (And not always pink, the indignant tomboy in me cries out!) They are blossoming in a garden sown with weeds, and tended by gardeners who may not have the best of intentions.

These young women need to be carefully tended, and yet they need to grow. Above all, I realized, they need the mercy and grace of God – mercy too big for my mind, and grace greater than I can fathom.  We parents and god parents of the world can’t do this alone. And yet, the world needs these fairy princesses and their bright castles in the air; above all, it needs their unwavering faith. The world needs little girls, who will grow up to raise children and run corporations, and who will discover great things and teach those around them, who will continue to give-give-give, just like the women before them.