First, Lord: No tattoos

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her
When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels.

What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.

“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.


–  Tina Fey, Bossypants

I know I’ve shared this before, but this prayer runs through my head on a very regular basis, and now and then Matt and I quote parts of it to each other under our breath, when things with our teenaged daughter get a little rugged.  SO GOOD.


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  1. Ari
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    It is good!! 😀 I will print it out. Thank you!!

  2. Posted November 18, 2016 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    This is so Good!!! I have worried about every silly thing in that paragraph Guide Her, Protect Her, and I remember exactly where I was. My youngest leaning on a window on the 102nd floor of the 2nd World Trade tower where we visited my cousin’s wife, who later died on 9/11-yes bad things happen. Her sister deciding to be the 1st girl on her high school wrestling team. I spent the entire winter thinking some boy was going to get her in a head lock and break her neck. At meets my hands covered my face and I only peaked through my spread fingers for a second or two. And lacrosse balls. Do you know how hard a lacrosse ball is? It could cause brain damage if it hit your temple in just the right spot. She’s 24 and a hard working barista and ski bum and I pretend I don’t know she’s often on back country trails.

    “And lead her away from acting but not all the way to finance.” After a lifetime of bookkeeping I’m relieved neither one of my daughters ended up in accounting. It took me years to start writing and I can’t stop now that I’ve started, making up for lost time.

    Thanks for sharing this. It made my day.

  3. Richard Kennedy
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Wow, I thought I’d read ‘Bossy Pants.’ Obviously not close enough. Our daughter is a contemporary of yours, her children, our grandchildren, younger. Still I’ve sent this on for her reading edification. She loves Tina Fey as do we. Now days, it’s the granddaughters and for that matter the grandson’s that capture our focus and concern, more starkly after the last ten days. In this position of the supposed sage elders we continue with the worry, we beg and pray silently but don’t vocalize as much. You’d think the role change would’ve been seamless, easy but I assure you it has and is not a walk in the park by any means.

    Thank you so much for sharing Tina Fey’s gorgeously poignant essay.

  4. Posted November 18, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Yes!!! One of my favorite pages in Bossypants. I also love the chapter about her honeymoon on the cruiseship. Loved it all but those two stand out. So fun to read this excerpt again. Thank you!

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