04 March 2008


I blinked, and then Ten.

A decade, within a moment; I'd suspected the possibility, but now instead of whispering softly, hinting at its arrival, it lies sprawled within a bed, a nymph-like being, teetering between the age of child and young adult, holding onto the possibility of fairies (maybe, just maybe) while peering with trepidation at what lies just beyond the bend.

An impossibility, no longer, but instead a truth.

I try now, to remember the scared woman that I was walking into the hospital, knowing that when I walked out, I would be a mother, but not comprehending it. Perhaps, today, not comprehending it still.

I sit tonight, cupcakes to frost, with un-pink frosting. Pink, which once had been the staple of her wardrobe and bedroom, pink, the color of her dreams. Pink, the flush of her cheeks the first time my awestruck tears fell upon her. Pink, no longer the hue of her world; she sees gray now with all of the other colors that exist.

This happens when you grow, you know. You learn about rainbows, and you learn about the rain that brings them. You learn about umbrella's that even the most hopeful mommy's don't always carry with them, despite their most sincere intentions.


I swear to you, it was only a moment ago that I first saw her heart beat. It would only make sense, then, that it was a breath ago that I tried to put together all of the changes within my body and tie them to the small blurry being before me on the screen. It was impossible, then.

It remains as such today.

I sit here tonight, a post ten years; a life; in the making, and am adrift in what it has all meant, what it all means. I had assumed that night a decade ago that when she reached this age, there would be so much more that I would know; that I would be confident in my actions, that I wouldn't feel as awkward and hesitant, so unsure of my movements. It was only the first of so many times that I would be wrong when it came to this thing called Motherhood.

Oh, Big A.

What you did to my heart, that moment first I saw you.

I could feel the heart within me rip and twist in ways I'd never known, in just that first second that I peered upon you.

There was a light, so bright, so clear and so true in that moment; it was piercing in its clarity, blinding in its rapture. Everything I had learned up to that moment, unlearned. Everything I thought that I had held dear, lying neglected upon the floor of my life as I worshiped at your altar.

I couldn't sleep, because I had to keep gazing upon you, making promises to you. I remember them, my little girl, and I will keep them. I just hadn't intended on them being so long in the making.

That night, so long and snowy ago. That night, only yesterday, wasn't it, sweet child? Wasn't it then, my little thing, that you first laid within the confines of my arms? Wasn't it only a minute ago that I first caressed your cheeks?


It wasn't.

I blinked, and then Ten.


InTheFastLane said...

She's beautiful and so was that post.

Pretty soon soon you will blink and there will be a full grown woman in your house.

painted maypole said...

oh ten years of being a mommy. happy mommy day to you.

(and I did your bedroom picture meme a few days ago)

A.J. said...

Oh Jenn, your words here give such a clear picture of a mothers love. I sit here with tears streaming down my face. Touching!

Mamma said...

Oh Jenn!! I love this post. I think you sum up perfectly what becoming and being a mother means.

This especially...

"There was a light, so bright, so clear and so true in that moment; it was piercing in its clarity, blinding in its rapture. Everything I had learned up to that moment, unlearned. Everything I thought that I had held dear, lying neglected upon the floor of my life as I worshiped at your alter."

I know exactly what you mean.

A.J. said...

and she's absolutely beautiful!!!!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Big A! We love you!
The Golden Girls

BetteJo said...

I think I went to work one day and mine graduated from high school and were moving on to college by the time I got home.
It happens.

Thank God for Blogs where you can recall all the large things - and the sweetest small ones too.

Mommy of 3 Crazies said...

She is beautiful!!

This is an awesome post, as always.

Happy Birthday Big A!!

flutter said...

she is so so beautiful.

Chaotic Joy said...

She's beautiful Jenn. Just beautiful. Because of you.

jen said...

she's entirely adorable.

justabeachkat said...

Just gorgeous...your words and your beautiful ten year old daughter. This post gave me chills.


Blog Antagonist said...

What a lovely young lady. Yes, I know...it goes by so quickly. Nobody tells you that, do they?

Terri said...

a beautiful and poignant post. And I feel you 100% My oldest is turning 15 this year, my youngest 10 as well. It has flown by entirely too fast.

Terri said...

Oh, and Happy Birthday to Big A!

Crow said...

Only TEN? Dear God...I thought she was closer to 30! :) A very happy birthday wish to Big A.

Kimberly said...

Ugh. My heart hurts. My oldest turns 13 in May. 13...I'm gonna cry.

Your baby is an angel.

Musing said...

What a lovely tribute to your lovely daughter.

So glad I found you thru Perfect Post. You write beautifully.

Anonymous said...

Just beautiful

amanda said...

WOW, nothing more- just WOW!

Jennifer said...


Beautiful. The girl and these words.


Happy Ten to a girl and her mama.

Anonymous said...

A poem for you and your beautiful daughter.

On Turning Ten

The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I'm coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light--
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.

You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.

But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.

It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.

Billy Collins

Jonas said...

Another lovely entry.

Jungle Mama said...

Ten . . . perfect poetry. You made me cry. Well done. I love coming back to your words, they are as beautiful as the image of your precious young lady.

Rebecca said...

Oh Jenn...

She truly is beautiful.

Julie Pippert said...

beautiful! her and the post! I love these tributes.

Oh and hey I did the bedroom meme, a few days back. :)

luckyzmom said...

I'm bawling, remembering that blink as vividly as the computer screen I now gaze at, and the moment you describe so beautifully, when you gazed upon your first child, so soon from God, for the first time. For me though it was over 36 years ago.

Janet said...

It does happen just like that, doesn't it?


She's gorgeous, your girl.

Anonymous said...

Tell A that Grandma says happy birthday and I miss her. Love to all of you.

Christine said...

happy birthday you sweet, sweet girl.
Running on empty

Christine said...

just read your most recent post---take care of yourself, hon. we'll be here when you are ready to return to us.

be well.

slouching mom said...

sweetheart! what happened? (i just read your more recent post.)

god, is your girl beautiful. as are your words here.

Bon said...

i am so late to this, but...it is an amazing post, a testament.

ten years. happy belated, to both of you.

Jenn said...

Beautiful, in so many ways.

Thinking of you.

Ryter said...

Awesome. They grow up so fast.

Amanda said...

Be good to yourself friend.