Faith, Family, & Focaccia

A faith and culture Mommy blog, because real life gets all mixed together like that.

Princess Imagination on her last birthday... it feels like just yesterday.

More than Seven Reasons to Celebrate

2 Comments

Princess Imagination on her last birthday... it feels like just yesterday.

Princess Imagination on her last birthday… it feels like just yesterday.

Today Princess Imagination turns seven years old. She has been talking about and planning this day for months. I, on the other hand, don’t quite feel ready.

This post, however, is not about my ambivalence about my daughter’s fast progress through childhood. It is about the question of how to celebrate this milestone in her journey. In the context of her intense discussion of her upcoming birthday I had plenty of reminders about this opportunity, and since writing is the way I process my challenges and joys, it was obvious to me that I wanted to write something.

I took a few stabs at something that would be appropriately expressive of my huge pride at being her mother.

I tried the format of a letter telling her what I wanted her to see in herself.

I tried an explanatory list of “seven” amazing things I see in her – one for each year.

But none of these formats were quite clicking. They felt forced.

And then I re-read a poem that she had spontaneously inspired through her play a few months ago. It is just a sensory description of a common place childhood moment, but that is what makes it feel right to me in this context.

Celebrating her childhood is not about formulas, or lists, or deep, expressive analysis.

It is about the amazing joy of watching her live ordinary moments, and rediscovering simple joy in that observation.

 


 

Celebration

 

Bright yellow

like a little globe of sunlight

captured in a ball of childhood delight

floating for the benefit of her bright eyes.

Smooth and soft

not burning as the touch of sun drops should

but pulsing

squirming

dancing away

from playful fingertips.

It tastes like laughter

filling up her mouth with bubbling joy,

sweet salivation wetting lips

that part in breathless expectation

Her tiny nostrils flare

as dust and cornstarch

beaten from the air by flailing arms and flying fingers

tickle her delicate nose, tempting a sneeze

to join the riotous sounds of celebration

giggles and squeals

weaving a complicated dance

between bright, one-syllable commands

“jump”

“look”

“get it!”

But then the sharp report

*POP*

and for one frozen second

 

air itself contracts to mourn the loss

- – –

but then the swirling, active fun refills the space

so lately occupied by her little drop of sun…

the next balloon is pink.

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Author: Serena Gideon Rice

In early 2011 my family moved our home, temporarily, from New Jersey to Milan, Italy. In the process I quit what had been my dream job conducting policy-directed social science research, to focus on my other dream job, raising our two young children. The three-year adventure was exciting, exhausting, disorienting, fulfilling, and countless other contradictions. It also birthed in me a desire to share my reflections on life's joys and challenges with anyone who cares to reflect with me. Now that we have returned to the US I'm finding that the new perspective I gained in Europe has come with me, and gives me a whole new way of interacting with my home. There's still so much to learn and share! I hope you'll share the journey, and add your own lessons to my daily education.

2 thoughts on “More than Seven Reasons to Celebrate

  1. My daughter turns seven in a few weeks, too and like you, I’ve been struggling for the perfect personal way to commemorate it. How perfect that you remembered the poem. It was full of the essence joy of this phase in a child’s life. Loved it!

    • Thank you! I am trying to cherish these precious days of remaining “childhood” – I can see the shadow of pre-teen attitude looming in the distance, but for now her face is still a prism of innocent joy. What a privilege it is to be a mother!
      Best wishes for your daughter’s celebration.

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