I Still See Her…

Who is this girl?

Mascara-laced lashes frame baby-blues not so babyish anymore.

The glasses she’s worn constantly since the age of two are optional now; her eyes have mended.

She smiles and I see her. She’s in there still.

That ball-of-energy little girl who seemed to run before she learned to walk. Who climbed trees and mastered the monkey bars, with calloused hands for her trophy.

Sometimes in pink and sequins.

Before she was born, I imagined her like this.

But I was only a mother to a son and didn’t know for sure what to expect with a little girl.

How would I play with a little girl? Would I have to dress her in fancy lace with ribbons in her hair? Or could we catch tadpoles at the creek and go camping, like I did with my son?

We didn’t even know whether the baby to be born was a boy or a girl. A surprise, it would be.

When she finally flung herself into this world, already running it seemed, I was instantly surprised.

And yet, not.

Part of me felt all along that this baby was a girl. But I pushed away those ideas of mother’s intuition and all that nonsense. I’m too logical for that.

Who is this girl?

This girl who changed our family forever with her birth. She’s still my little girl and yet, not.

Will we always be close?

Eyes roll now, she’s much more aware of my clothing and the things I do that make me old. Aware, possibly, that I am her future self. Does she fear my wrinkles and gray hair?

And still, we giggle. We laugh about the boys in our family. We are bonded by things like perfume, skinny jeans, music, and lip gloss.

She watches me sometimes. Like I used to watch her in the crib while she slept.

And I wonder what she’s thinking.

Does she know how much I adore her? What a kind and caring person she’s become? How different my life would be without her here?

Twelve years old suddenly seems so much closer to eighteen than to six.

That little girl hasn’t slipped through my fingers, but has wrapped herself around my heart.

And she’s still in there.

Comments

  1. I've had glimpses of my sweet little girl and it seems I can see her as a teenager. I hear her make a comment that sounds wise beyond her years or just a look on her face.
    I'm not ready for those days yet.
    Beautiful post lady..

  2. This is lovely. I see her in you, looking back and forth between your photos. You have every right to be proud.

    Funny…I wrote about the "I'm becoming my mother" thing today. I hope that when my own mother gazes down at me, she sees the beauty in me that I recognize in my daughter…that you recognize in yours. Well said, Sherri.

  3. I love this so much. My own 11.5 year old daughter (with brand new mascara smudges below her eyes) is still asleep. I don't want to wake her this morning. I know she will look older yet than she did even yesterday.

    You ask, "Will we always be close?"

    I wonder. My girl still wants to snuggle every night while we watch TV. I hate the shows she wants to watch, but I suffer through them.

    To have her arms around me. For one more night.

    Thanks for this beautiful post.

  4. Just Plain Tired says:

    This was simply one of the sweetest posts I've read in a long time.

  5. So very sweet. I was getting teary. I will be a mess when my kids are teens. I can't even take my baby turning 3.

  6. I'm really afraid our next will be a girl because I do NOT know what to do with one. So, this helps.

  7. Hello! I'm Kate. says:

    Beautiful post! I was starting to cry…whew!

  8. Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points says:

    Oh…yes, 12 is SO much closer to 18.

    It's like we can see the road coming so much more clearly than we can remember the path behind us.

    She is so lovely, and I can see you in her also.

  9. The Empress says:

    Isn't that the truth??? You still see the baby in their face, you see what no one else can possibly see.

    Lovely, Old Tweener.

  10. I really wouldn't know what to do with a girl! But it's so sad for me to see how quickly my boys are growing. You can tell how much you love her by this post.

  11. This is how I feel if I were to suddenly have a boy! When you have one gender – and Lord knows that boys and girls are totally different – I'd be clueless about a boy!!

  12. You and your daughter will continue to grow together.
    And she will one day be your best friend.
    And you will watch her move into her adulthood. Still hovering over her, trying to let her fly without losing sight of her.
    And wringing your hands when all is not perfect for her.
    And biting your lip, because she is smart enough to think for herself.
    And? She will always be your little girl.

  13. What a beautiful daughter you have! Just like her mother, and that's the truth. That's so wonderful that you have such a special relationship with her. I hope we never stop seeing the baby in our children.

  14. Booyah's Momma says:

    I know before I blink I'm going to be staring at my own daughter, and thinking similar thoughts. Who are you, and how did you get to be BIG all of the sudden? Heck, I think that now, and she's only 5.

    And I think this is the first time I've seen a picture of one of your kids. What a beautiful young woman you have on your hands!

  15. oooohhh I know. My oldest just turned 12…and he drifts b/t struggling desperately to be grown up and then slinking back the boy-dom. It is all happening so quickly…this growing up thing. Some day he isn't going to need me…and that makes me sad.

  16. The days are long, but the years are short. Isn't that what they say? This is a beautiful post and a beautiful girl!
    I wonder not only if the boys will be close to my husband and me, but if they'll remain close to each other. Things change, but somethings seem like they really should stay the same!

  17. blueviolet says:

    She will always be your little girl, and you will always be her mommy. Looks change; hearts don't. πŸ™‚

  18. Melissa (Confessions of a Dr. Mom) says:

    Oh Sherri, you always strike a chord with me. It's like you are living my future. Your girl is beautiful and seeing her pic next to yours, she has your smile.

    I have a boy first then a girl, just like you. I feel this in so many ways even though my girl is all but three.

    Once again you have touched me with your beautiful writing.

  19. Middle Aged Dreamer says:

    You brought tears to my eyes. And made me think about my mother too. Beautifully written!

  20. The mad woman behind the blog says:

    Oh Sherri, you've done it again. So beautiful. And you're giving me a glimpse of what is to come.

    Hold me?

  21. And now I'm tearing up thinking about my girls. Just beautiful Sherri!

  22. So beautiful your baby girl is, Sherri!

    Sometimes I look at Sage and I clearly see the teenager she will become. It's scary, even though we have such a long way to go.

  23. MommaKiss says:

    And now I'm thinking of my boys and how some day they will not want to be near me. But I told them that no matter how old they get I will have the right to call them my babies. Just me, no one else. But even when they're 6'2" and could fireman carry me, they still be Momma's babies. Sigh. If only we could bottle the innocence.

  24. This is such a sweet post, and what a pretty girl you have.

    Yes, she is closer to 18…I do those sorts of counts in my head, and my kids are way younger than yours.

    It makes me sad to count them!!!

  25. This is so sweet, Sherri! She is beautiful just like her Mom. I, too, count the years – and wonder where the time has gone. My oldest is just 7, and I swear it was yesterday he was 7 DAYS old. I remember like it might as well have been.

    And if memory serves me right, I didn't think nice thoughts about my mom when I was 12 (until I was about 20). So, you may not want to know what she's thinking…but then…when she's 20, she'll realize the errors of her ways. πŸ˜‰

  26. I cannot wait until my 5-year-old daughter and I bond over things like skinny jeans and lip gloss but alas, we are still fighting over the Dora lunchbox versus the Barbie one. πŸ™‚

    This is such a sweet post…thank you for giving me hope that it gets easier and better!!

  27. PS – your daughter is stunning. Just like her mom.

  28. Mandyland says:

    What a wonderful post. It brought tears to my eyes. I too have a little girl who is still very little. And I look at her and wonder in a way that I don't with my son.

    Now…excuse me…I need to find a tissue.

  29. Just Another Mom of 2 says:

    Add me to the tissue list.. my daughter turns two next month and I'm terrified at how fast it is going! She is so beautiful! And I fear the eyeroll..

  30. Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds says:

    You gave me chills! I remember being 12. There was a definite conflict in whether I wanted to be 18 or 6.

  31. Paula/Lulubelle says:

    Very touching and so true. As my oldest approaches his teen years, I can every once in a while catch a glimpse of that perky little guy from days gone by…

  32. Beautiful. Loved this. And you have a beauty there.

  33. Mrs.Mayhem says:

    Your daughter is beautiful! And, Sherri, you are amazing at capturing feelings into words. I am right there with you, and it strikes a chord in me.

    My daughter is only eight, but I hug her (so that our hearts are next to each other) and think, how could we ever NOT be close?! Maybe not during the teen years but later, when she's a mother herself.

  34. Beautiful!!! My husband and I want to have another baby and I keep thinking I want another boy but now, after reading this, I think I will be sad if it's not a little girl…

  35. Sherri…

    The best sign of brilliant writing?
    When, as a reader, you feel as thought the author is speaking directly and only to you.

    I felt as though you were sitting here with me.

    This part brought tears to my eyes: "Does she know how much I adore her? What a kind and caring person she's become? How different my life would be without her here?"

    Beautiful.

  36. Oh Sherri you always, always force me to see that the days might be long but the years are indeed so very short. T
    hank you for the lessons and the lovely words about your baby girl, yes she can be your baby girl as long as you like.

  37. william2233 says:

    Yes they grow fast, mine is 17, son 19, from a children author of Concord, Ca.

    http://www.freewebs.com/william2233/index.htm

  38. Beautiful, Sherri! They change and grow and mature right before our eyes, but as a mother we always can see that baby they once were. Thank you for your touching words.

    Your daughter is stunning.

  39. Leslie @ crunchybetty says:

    This is so, so lovely.

    My sister's about to have her third baby. The first two were boys. This one is a girl.

    I have the feeling she's going to need to read this. Now. Before. Sharing it with her immediately.

    SO beautiful.

  40. Morgan B. says:

    What a lovely post! It makes my heart ache. I want to run into my girls bedroom (that's right- ONE room) and pull them into my arms. Thanks for your beautiful thoughts and words.

  41. What a beautiful daughter you have! I loved how you said…

    She watches me sometimes. Like I used to watch her in the crib while she slept.

    …beautiful!

  42. This post is beautiful! It has me missing my mom πŸ™‚

  43. Drama queens mum (Kimberly) says:

    Very nice post. I was just thinking today that my daughter will be 4 this year. The years just fly by.

  44. My mom and I had some rough years, and I worry that that will also happen with me and my girls…plus it will be two against one since I have twins. Scared shitless. They are 5 going on 16, it seems. I wish there was a script to follow? Really loved this post, Sherri!

  45. Amy Sullivan says:

    Sherri,
    Found you through Saturday Sampling. Oh, I read this and heard so much of myself.

    "Twelve years old suddenly seems so much closer to eighteen than to six." You are so right, but oh, why is that?

  46. My 16 year old daughter had a minor eye infection the other day and she couldn't wear make-up. I didn't know about this so when she came to visit me at work well suddenly it was like my little girl came through the door just like she used to (although she's 5'8" now, but still). Mine is in there too and it was nice to see her again.

  47. Your daughter is lovely and so was your post. Please let her know that I think she has great hair!

  48. Karen Peterson says:

    I sometimes wish we could just keep kids little forever. But then they say and do amazing things and I realize it's just as fun to watch them become as it is to imagine it.

  49. Very sweet post. She is a beautiful young lady!

  50. Very sweet post. She looks like her mama.

  51. what everyone else has said… this is a beautiful post and your daughter is even more beautiful πŸ™‚

  52. Julie Hedlund says:

    I guess we've both been thinking about our girls this week, how quickly they're growing up and yet how much they're still the same.

    She's absolutely beautiful and has the look of someone who will always be close with her mom. πŸ˜‰

  53. letmestartbysaying says:

    Love this. I, too, had a son then a daughter. I can't imagine what the 'tween years are going to be like.

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