Friday, August 24, 2012


1 : having or marked by great physical power
2 : having moral or intellectual power

My daughter B turns 11 today.  Almost exactly eleven years ago, I held her in my arms for the first time and that afternoon got to hear her 20 month-old sister A say, "Baby come.  Baby come."  This baby we had been telling her about for months had indeed come and our family has never been the same.

Holding a frog at Cheekwood

B has been strong from the start.  On her first birthday, she cut her foot and got stitches.  She had recently started walking and shortly after the stitches, she took a step, winced, and kept walking.

Tough girl - in a cardboard choker she made

We've made more trips to the ER for B than all of the rest of our family combined.  Her arm has been out of socket twice, she's had a near miss with a concussion and then there were the second degree burns from the time she touched the lawnmower while it was hot.  None of it has daunted her - or even slowed her down much.

With her caterpillar, Artie

Releasing Artie (now a Monarch butterfly)

This is a difficult season for B.  As J and I have talked, daydreamed and pondered moving for the last year or two, B has been adamant about not wanting to sell this house.  In her grandest plans, she wants to live here while she goes to college and then buy the house from us.  So she has very mixed emotions about our impending move.  She loves her small bedroom here, filled as it is with natural light from her wall of windows.  But she loves the backyard at the new house, where she and K have mapped out spots for hammocks and a fort.  And she loves her room there, with its big windows and nooks and crannies.

B in a swing of her own making, summer 2007

B is strong physically.  She's the one who helps me move bookcases or furniture when I want something done and J is at work.  But she's not just strong physically.  She's strong because she feels so deeply.  A and K are sad that we are moving, too.  So are J and I, truth be told.  But B is the one who has walked from room to room with her iPod, recording and documenting this home the way it is right now, so that she will never forget where she spent a decade of her life.

There are times (especially in our homeschooling) when I think I am not strong enough to be B's mother.  I admire her strength and struggle to not be intimidated by it.  But there must be a reason God gave her to me to mother.  From the very beginning, I have prayed for the wisdom to train B without breaking her spirit.  Because her beautiful, strong spirit is something that I believe will guide her through this life.  It is what makes her who she is - stubborn, creative, willful, empathetic, lovely.

A few years ago on a work retreat, we did an activity where we dreamed together about our organization's future and our personal futures.  As a part of that, I remember saying that I want to be like my daughter B when I grow up.  I still do.  I want to know who I am and find strength in that.  I want to feel and own my emotions the way she does.  I want to fight for who I am and what I want.  I learn from her every single day.  It is a gift to be her mother.

Reading together (years ago)

P.S. I let B read this post before publishing it.  Upon reading that I sometimes feel like I am not strong enough to be her mother she laughed and said, "Well, you're still alive.  That's proof enough!"  I should mention that she's funny, too.


J said...

Happy Birthday Boo! I love you!


Karen said...

This is just beautiful. What a lovely post to your daughter.