a daughter is turning fourteen

August 7th, 2013

5625882690_66af0e601f_o_mShe wants balloons at the pool party, and I think a cloud of purple balloons would be just right. There is no such thing as too young or fun in these last days before turning fourteen.

I have thought lonely and long about how far beyond my reach you are now, how gone beyond my knowing. There is so much of me you do not need or want or like. That you cannot like just now, on the brink of turning fourteen.

We bought school supplies today. How few days like this remain—new ruler, pens, and notebooks, graph paper, pocket folders, pencil cases—a hundred dollars worth. I resented the trouble and money. But when you came home and loaded your backpack for next Wednesday’s bell, I cried over these lines.

Am I more frightened than at the start? I thought I’d break you then but it’s me torn in two.

I said yes, invite everyone to the party, twice as ever before, let everyone come for this last splash and  splurge—greasy pizza and pixie sticks—all our beautiful daughters, our hearts, our dreams, let them laugh and scream, be silly, be lovely, take the cake, claim the prize, the women we’ve never seen and might yet meet, our daughters are turning fourteen.


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  1. Happy birthday, mama.

    Comment by Jena — August 8, 2013 @ 3:31 am

  2. Happy birthday

    Comment by Michelle — August 8, 2013 @ 6:05 am

  3. happy birthday and i loved this piece as i love all you have written~

    my daughter is the younger of my two, my oldest, my son turned 14 this summer and I felt so much of what you wrote. Still feel it. So big, so broad still growing in that direction

    enjoy the day and beyond!

    Comment by carrie — August 8, 2013 @ 6:36 am

  4. Happy birthday to Georgia and happy birth day to you, Maezen.

    Comment by Meg — August 8, 2013 @ 7:28 am

  5. happy birthday to you, Maezen–for a mother watches and waits and hurts at all the glups and changes. mine are grown but I miss them every day.
    wonderful sharing, from the heart–where we all need so much to come from.

    Comment by daniel — August 8, 2013 @ 7:41 am

  6. gassho, dear Maezen…

    Comment by Maia Duerr/Liberated Life Project — August 8, 2013 @ 7:57 am

  7. Happy Birthday to your beautiful Georgia! This brought tears to my eyes because I can relate.Last week my almost 12 year old son started middle school and each day I see my little boy slipping away and growing up…..

    Comment by Jennifer — August 8, 2013 @ 8:08 am

  8. I laughed at the resentment of the costly school supply bill . . . my son started Kindergarten Monday so I just had my first experience with that. We have already had our ups and downs, a smooth three days, a day of refusal and sobs (his, mine), and now ending the week on an up note. I realized that the time it took us to get here will take us to 10, to 15 . . .
    When he curls up tightly on his bed after bath I see the infant, the baby again.

    Thank you for showing us all the way and bon natale to you both.

    Comment by Laura — August 9, 2013 @ 4:58 am

  9. As always, you break my heart and heal it, all at the same time. Gassho.

    Comment by Aparna — August 9, 2013 @ 5:59 am

  10. Thank you again, for reminding me of the past. My girls have grown, flown the nest and have happy lives away from me. Thankfully, they now want more voice time with their rapidly aging mother! Especially the daughter who tugged so hard at the reins during her teen years.
    She calls for advice about mothering, what a gift.

    Comment by Jude Smith — August 12, 2013 @ 4:01 am

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