When I was a little girl, I’d visit my grandmother in Connecticut, and do nothing but read. I remember that we’d stop at the public library right after I arrived and I’d take out the maximum number of books allowed - 10 - and read them everywhere.
And then I found this. I remember it so well. I made a dollhouse in a drawer, cutting up postcards to make a fake fireplace, creating tables out of jewelry boxes, aluminum foil as a mirror. I played with it for hours, crouched over the desk it lived in, and my grand mother has kept it for the past 30 years. It’s like opening a drawer into my childhood.
I don’t even recognize myself - I don’t like making anything, or rather, I’m not patient enough for crafts. Where did this patient, creative little girl go?
And then one day this past winter I came home with new boots. They came in a large box, which my daughter asked to keep. She sat down and started cutting up magazines to decorate the wall, making carpet out of tissue.
She made a dollhouse. In a box.
There I am.
My daughter is away at her father’s for two weeks. This is good. I need some me time, some time to be a selfish human, do what I want to when I want to. Try to be bored. And I found this - something I had written during my mother-daughter “honeymoon” in Costa Rica.
During this trip, I was reminded of what I didn’t realize I (sometimes) felt:
…that you are not just my responsibility, my gorgeous to-do list, my hopes and fears embodied…
You are also someone entirely separate from me - a person to discover.
A girl who thinks, hums, raps, laughs. And you look so much like me these days…
…that in some way, I am rediscovering myself. It’s disconcerting. And wonderful. Scary too.
It’s not easy to bring you up (almost) alone. You’re a lot of person, a big human. It’s overwhelming sometimes.
Being your mother is the best kind of challenge…onward we go, and upward we grow, my little one.
The other night as we were getting ready to go out to dinner, my 9-year old daughter walked out of the bathroom with black smudged around one eye:
- Are you wearing eyeliner?, I asked.
- What’s on your eyes?
Then she asked which one of my tops she could borrow and wear to dinner.
Here she is, trying to tie my sarong the way she has seen me wear it. She’s still young enough to have to stand on the bed to see herself in the mirror, but I can see it…the beginning of a grace that hints at what she will be - a woman - instead of what she is now: a young girl.