Mothers and daughters

Tomorrow we celebrate Little Miss turning 5 years’ old.

It’s a cliché, but the time really does slip by at an incredible speed. It doesn’t seem so long ago I was lying in that hospital bed – sobbing hysterically out of pure relief that the birth was finally over – and feeling an overwhelming sense of joy as her squishy little body was placed in my arms.

After two boys, I was delighted to have a girl, but unprepared for the feeling of being absolutely enveloped by her. I think as a mother, deep down I know that eventually my boys will find their significant other, and she will be the primary female in their lives. That’s as it should be. But with Little Miss, I know I will always be that focal point for her. Always. I remember when she was about three, we were talking about when she would be “big”. I was intrigued to discover that she thought she would grow up to actually be me. I had to explain to her that she would always be her, herself, and not actually me. I understood then that the very intimate connection I have with her is two-way.

So to celebrate her – and mothers and daughters everywhere – I will share the poem I wrote for her on her dedication.

Daughter

She has my eyes

My question mark chin

My blueprint form of face;

A patterned flawless space

I have chartered the course

Of my callow calf-love

From fragile pulse of forehead

Clutch of toe and butterfly breath

Her blown-glass hands

Her snail-shell palm

And like Braille, her skin

My fingers, comprehending

When my mind softens, strays

I find myself writing her name

Betraying the constant, pendulum pull

Of my thoughts, a sentience elemental

Once, lucid shadows

Of reason, contemplation

Idled in the noiseless ranges

Of my soul. Now they are strangers

Their lifeless shapes blunted

Limp husks of love, stunted

I am translucent

Engulfed and emptied-out

My folds of flimsy-frail skin

Tangled in exquisite limbs

As delicate as a bird’s call

And ruthlessly consuming all

We are knotted selves

And I, a paradox host

For, should we split, and separate

I would disintegrate

A collapsed star of yearning

Her withered moon, feebly turning

And she has my eyes

And I am undone

By this mad tenderness

This fevered restlessness

She is my logos and I

Her word, and her ruin

I am fixed in her map

I am Lear’s egg, cracked

For she is my all.

And I see you there, lost

In your blossom-boned daughter

Greedy, yet gaunt with need of her

Fatuous fascination

Of her instrument form

Our eyes catch, turn on a clockwork point.

Lured, seized, captured, caught

By the beauty of that natural law

I am less, that she might be more


xxxx

Emma Whale

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7 thoughts on “Mothers and daughters

  1. Rachael Jamieson Newton

    Thank you for using your gift to explain just how it is for all of us mothers and daughters. xx

  2. Asta

    I totally get this as a mum who had a daughter after two boys. Yes there is something so hard to put into words about it. You did a lovely job.

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