My 100 Daughters

In 2013 when my daughter Eden was three years old, she started a bedtime routine that became quite extravagant. I would tuck her into bed and say, “I always wanted a little girl just like you,” and she would hold my face in her tiny delicate hands and start kissing me.  First on my cheeks, then I’d close my eyes and she’d kiss my eye lids – first one, then the other.  Then, she’d kiss my ears, forehead, top of my head, my mouth, chin, neck and hands until she felt her love had been adequately expressed.  So insistent was her affection, she couldn’t fall asleep until she placed her kisses upon me.  One particular night, I was rushed putting her to bed.  I wondered if all her kissing was simply a bedtime delay tactic, but something inside me said her demonstration was an ancient ritual, and I was to take the time to let her show her love.  The way Eden loved me was not of this world.

eden and i

A few nights later, while I was putting her to bed and staring into her bright blue eyes, Eden asked if she would ever have a sister. With a family full of brothers, I knew the odds were not in her favor.

“I want 100 sisters,” she said, delightfully.

“100 sisters,” I laughed, and took her in my arms as we giggled.  “That would mean I’d have 100 daughters,” and my heart burst with love.

The very thought of 100 heavenly daughters felt like magic.  100 daughters would make our lives just about perfect.  While considering such an idea, I asked Eden what it would be like if we had 100 sisters.  Our discussion magically turned into a poem of sorts, alive with color and joy.  Because of my love for the girls of India, each of the 100 daughters I saw in my mind had the beautiful features of a girl from India – the black hair, dark eyes and brown skin.  After Eden fell asleep, I ran to the computer and started writing.

eden 19

100 daughters?  How would we do it? Could Eden and I help 100 girls from India? And what about adopting our little girl? After watching a documentary about India called It’s a Girl – The Three Deadliest Words in the World, I was passionate to do my part to help change the conditions in which the girls lived in. In some parts of India, it was customary that when girls married, their parents would pay a hefty dowry. This dowry could sometimes be up to half of the family’s entire worldly possessions.  Many families could not afford the cost to raise a girl, only to then pay and marry her off.  A daughter might earn no money, have little to no education and might never have the right to own property.  She might become a slave in an arranged marriage and treated like property by her new husband and mother-in-law.  Many baby girls were abandoned or sold into slavery.  What could we do to help?

After some research about nonprofit organizations in India, our family decided in March 2016 to donate $1,000 to Rising Star Outreach.  In April, 2004 this incredible organization started a school that helps children whose parents suffer with leprosy.  With $1000, we could sponsor two girls and the rest of the money would help volunteers travel to the leprosy colonies, making sure the children had food, supplies and school lessons.  After a year, our sponsorship would expire, so with prayer and some careful budgeting, our family decided to again donate, this time sponsoring three girls.  In my heart, I knew it was a slow path, but we were one step closer to helping 100 girls.

I sent the director of Rising Star Outreach the poem My 100 Daughters and after visiting on the phone, told her my goal to publish the poem in a children’s book.  I wanted to draw a girl a day, but there was one problem.  I was not an artist.  I’d always been creative, but where would I begin drawing each of these 100 beautiful girls from India?  It didn’t matter. These were my daughters and Eden’s sisters.  We would find a way.  I purchased an art book, coloring pencils and started drawing.

my 100 daughters

So far, we have drawn twenty girls.

my 100 daughters 4

One day, I colored in one of the illustrations, and Eden proclaimed with tears in her eyes, “I wanted to color it.”  The idea to have an accompanying coloring book was born.

my 100 daughters 2

You’ll see in this coloring book how my drawings have progressed and my confidence has grown. This is a big project, but our goal is to be finished with 100 daughters of India by October 2017.  Please follow here or on my blog for updates on our project.

My 100 daughters

– dedicated to the girls of India

If I had 100 daughters I’d build a large house with 100 bedrooms.

I’d have 100 beds covered with soft pink blankets.

Our day would start with a long prayer in which each of my 100 daughters would be blessed by name.

For breakfast, we would crack 100 eggs dipped with 100 pieces of warm bread and there would be French toast with syrup for all.

If I had 100 daughters, I would take the time each day to hold them near and whisper in the ear something special they had accomplished.

When singing the ABC’s, my daughters would sound like a large choir of scholarly angels.

I would keep a school list, ensuring each daughter was caught up on daily homework assignments before she was allowed to play.

I would keep 100 pounds of sugar in the pantry, thus ensuring 100 pink cotton candy desserts could be made when necessary.

Tickle time would be lengthy, ensuring each daughter received her allotted tickling.

At night when I read my daughters bedtime stories, I’d have 200 beautiful eyes staring back at me.

If I had 100 daughters, I would have 100 baths each equipped with strawberry-scented bubble bath.

I would have 100 hairbrushes and a cupboard full of hair bows and elastics.

I would paint 1000 fingernails and 1000 toenails when we played dress up.

I would have 100 tutus hanging in the hall closet and 100 pairs of pink ballet slippers aligned.

In our home would be a large stage and in the afternoon we would have glamorous dance festivals.

Each year we would celebrate 100 birthdays.  Of course, we would employ a magician, cake maker and face painter.  A back room would be full of helium-filled balloons, ready to use at a moments notice.

If I had 100 daughters I would plant 100 rose bushes, each in their honor and every day I would pick a rose from each plant.  It would make a bouquet so rich and colorful, it would stand in a large vase atop the kitchen table.

If I had 100 daughters, I would hear the name “Momma” a thousand times a day.

If I had 100 daughters they would anxiously be awaiting the arrival of another sister because even with 100 daughters, I would still want more.