Sunday, July 24, 2011


It's mid-July and I am just now getting a full pool day with you and your sister. Slathered in sunscreen, wet hair tangled into the strap of your goggles, you smile broadly as you glide over to me on your noodle. You take my hand and point to the waves licking the far side of the swimming pool. "Those waves are from me, Mama. I did that." You look serene, which is not a word I would use to describe your summer.

No, Rachel, you have not been serene. You have been a lot of things, and you have expressed each feeling quite acutely. Because when you feel, you feel. Your anger shakes your body and your sorrow collapses your face and your happiness sends your auburn eyebrows sailing toward your hairline.

You have been contentedly residing deep inside your imagination for two months now, creating intricate plots for your toys, which are acted out with a ferocity I often confuse for distress. You light up at the sight of a small square of cotton packing, explain "I want to use this for something," and disappear back into the playroom.

You have climbed under my covers in the early morning. You have cooed and snuggled with me and your father. You have dropped everything to seek quiet moments in my lap. You have rolled your eyes and moved over to make room for Anna.

You have been frustrated with your role of younger sister. You have railed against Anna's constant nagging and ordering. You have cried bitterly when she didn't want a playmate. You have competed for parental attention, computer time and the last popsicle. You have had to be patient. You have screamed and stormed and slammed doors.

Your emotions are close to the surface. You are your mother's daughter.

And like your mother, you love the water. While your sister practices cannon balls and demands I time her underwater swims, you hold my hand and tilt your face up toward the sun and smile. And I kiss your lightly freckled cheek and tell you, yes baby girl. Those waves? They are from you. You did do that.


  1. Meredith, you're the best mom.

  2. Very tender and sweet. The feeling is there, for sure - that soft pensive feeling they inspire in us and make us want to speak them, say what they mean.

    Were you looking for advice?

    Stick with precise images, like her beautiful comment about waves and finding the small square piece of cotton packing.

    When you write things like "Your anger shakes your body and your sorrow collapses your face," we need to see her in an event where she really gets mad or a time when she was filled with sorrow. What makes her mad? What makes her sorrowful? Do you see that huge distinction? It's old English class advice. Show. Don't tell.

    Also, the opening sequence and the title really beg to be cracked open. You should hit the word "waves" hard - waves of emotion, wavy hair, the way your love for her hits you in waves, waving hello and goodbye.

    Just some thoughts. This was elegant and pretty and you nail the mood - that mood they create. It has to do with pace and tone and you do it well. Thanks for sharing it with me.

  3. Thank you, BHJ. The feedback is much appreciated!