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When you became my daughter…


I felt so awkward.

I had never before had a daughter, and I didn’t know how to do this new mothering.

Me with three boys at home, you my fourth child to carry from the hospital, my seventh pregnancy. I should have known how to do this or at least have been able to still the butterflies and questioning thoughts.

I was so happy, and raw right through.

The bows I picked out weren’t the latest fad and they left a ring around your silky head, but I remember how my heart had trembled when I tucked them in a dresser drawer, praying you would arrive safely to wear them.

My nails had garden soil underneath them and were rimmed with flecks of watercolor. My robe had the faintest hint of pink in it, because I wanted the nurses to know we were women, you and I.

My dress was long and black because I felt strong in it, and yours was covered in little flowers because I wanted everyone to know I had a daughter.

I sat next to you in the backseat while your Daddy drove us home. It was apparent that this would be a very different journey. On that car ride, you so tiny in the carseat, me tender and wondering… Even then you were carrying the seeds of life. How would I teach you, what would I show you?

This would be a year of hearing your little lion squall turn to goo’s and babble. It would be a year of acknowledging that I am not who I would like to be. A year of telling God that He would need to speak more clearly if I am going to do this job of raising a daughter right. And Creator Papa saying, “Grow still daughter so that you can hear, for I am always speaking.”

It would be a year of soul-filling writing while also tucking a manuscript back on the shelf in favor of holding you.

A year of finding shades of rose, and hues of gold and fern, delighting to wrap you in them, delighting in beauty for Beauty’s sake.

A year of realizing there will always be someone more put together, stronger, seemingly more perfect, and that is not a mirage I wish for you or I to ever chase.

A year of remembering the magic of new life, and letting your honest appraisal of this world reignite my heart to dream.

I cannot say what this year has been my love. Words are just an echo of who you are, and what we have been together.

I do not know how I will live these next twenty years. I pray that God will give me strength, health, clear eyes and a tender heart. And I pray you will be gentle with me when you are grown and looking back, because above all the mistakes I know I will make, I have always loved you.

  • film photos by my love, Jesse McKeeman . Hasselblad 500c/m . Tri-X 400
  • Tere Jensen - Sharon
    I finally read some of your latest post; the yelling, Joy’s birthday, October. There are still tears in my eyes and a smile on my face. Your writing is so comfortable and gently encouraging I feel submerged when reading it all. I so miss bumping into you and your family at the Pannikin.