Fill in the Blanks

On the sixth week after her father passed away, my oldest daughter presented me with a family portrait.

I told her I liked it very much. I like how Dad is standing tall, in front of the children, in a protective stance. I like how all the kids are huddled together, bonding, perhaps, in their collective memories.

I asked her, though, “Why don’t we have faces?”

She answered, “Because we just don’t know how we feel yet. We are ready to be laughing or crying at any moment. We just don’t know.”

Blank Spaces

Poppy (9)

On the sixth week after her father passed away, my youngest daughter presented me with a drawing.

I told her l liked it very much. I like how even though Mom and Dad are separated by space, they continue to share the warmth of a radiant heart enveloped in sunshine. I like how there is heaven and earth, stars and sun, and a calming symmetry between them.

I asked her, though, “Why don’t we have faces?”

She answered, “Because all the really important things you feel are on the inside.”

MH Drawing

MH (5)



My Princess

We were listening to the Kids’ Station on Pandora yesterday while we finished up our waffles and milk. When the theme song to Beauty and the Beast started, Poppy jumped out of her seat and raced to the remote control. I assumed she was going to turn up the volume, but instead she skipped it. Before I could even ask why, she muttered, “Ugh. I don’t like princesses,” and shuffled back to her seat. It’s hard to explain, but I was both ecstatic and devastated. I’ve long suffered internal conflict when it comes to my daughter’s (former) obsession with princess paraphernalia. On one hand, I didn’t want her growing up thinking that all princesses need rescuing. On the other hand, how could I deny my little girl an interest that captured her heart and imagination so completely? Wasn’t it just Christmas before last when she asked begged for a princess hair dryer and matching accessories kit? Wasn’t it only last year when she squealed with delight when she opened an entire collection of princess dress-up shoes and a trunk of coordinating gowns from her uncle? Didn’t she wake up early on my birthday last year to watch the royal wedding of a ”real princess?”

The Princess and her Curling Iron

Oh, I wasn’t expecting to feel so sad about the passing of the princess passion. I guess I am already feeling nostalgic for the little girl who loved princesses and not the princesses themselves. I’ve noticed that she has grown up a lot this first year at school. Since she began kindergarten in the fall, she has started singing Justin Bieber songs in the back seat of the car, shaking her hips when she dances, indulging in potty humor with her brother, chasing boys on the playground, and admiring every fashion and fad of the older girls in school. I’ve noticed that my little girl is turning into a not-so-little girl. When I think about it, it makes my heart hurt (more than a little). She is still my sensitive and loving daughter. She hurts when her friends hurt. She is the first to cheer up a classmate who is having a hard day. She brings me a cool washcloth when I have a headache. She is expressive, artistic, articulate and complicated (in good ways). She is kind, and there is little more I could want from my child. But, (heavy sigh), she’s growing up. I better get busy planning that trip to Disney.

My Princess