How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?

“She climbs a tree and scrapes her knee
Her dress has got a tear
She waltzes on her way to Mass
And whistles on the stair
And underneath her wimple
She has curlers in her hair
I even heard her singing in the abbey”

~ The Sound Of Music, with  Rodgers And Hammerstein, How Do Solve A Problem Like Maria

My youngest daughter….the curious sprite. In so many ways, she boggles me and yet delights me, all at the same time. From her requests for an endless supply of journals and assorted writing materials, to ‘Mom…what does it feel like to be a sunflower?’


(I imagine it feels better then having dried paint stuck to your face, while on the quest to find out….)

Always watching, always trying to work out the grand design…she’s quite the riddle. From music, to books, to art….


I can’t recall a time that she EVER had any interest in dolls! It wasn’t that I didn’t buy them….I did. She just found them boring. Especially Barbies….even at 10, she said they were an  ‘unrealistic depictions of girls’. So naturally, we just stuck with the journals. I can’t even tell you how many there are. And the words….so teeny tiny. She says it’s so she can fit more on the page.

This child who spends endless hours trying to solve algebra problems…ummm…for fun! It used to leave me feeling perplexed, however, now I find that algebra is a rather nifty skill. Her constantly calculating mind,  came in handy when we were measuring for the garden.


“But Mom…it’s a ‘natural’ red…”   yeah…that’s the look. The one that comes about if I question her ‘freedom of expression’. And honestly, I do encourage self-reflection and experimentation on the way to discovering one’s inner self.

Her ability to see my own vision and mesh it with hers, for the sake of art…astounds me….

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She who adds so many  goofy quirky mismatched moments of sheer gentle madness…


Everyday there’s a new strange glorious path. Filled with music, poetry, math, art and ‘through the looking glass’ moments.


There’s always a song, radiating from beneath her bedroom door.


Or a masterpiece on the horizon.

And a question about her current reading materials typically leads to a debate on the Constitution….


And an outward expression of her thoughts on the matter.

For the record, I don’t censor books, unless they’re ‘too adult’. However, when I tried to voice my opinion on War and Peace, I was met with “Your argument is invalid”. Mmmmkay.

As I walk the path of her childhood, steady at her side, I know without a doubt, she’s been an absolute influence on my life. And while it’s my job as her mother, to help mold her into some politically correct, fit for society model of human social adaptation….It’s a curious thing….she’s the one molding me. That whole “what would mom do???” voice, that I pray is somewhere in her brain….is paired with “what would my daughter do?”, deep inside my own.

I realize….yes…I am completely aware, that this is of my own doing. Let’s face it…I was always waist deep in my own head, maybe I still am. So it stands to reason, that this child of mine, would inherit a bounty of reasons not to flow with the status quo.


For instance, keeping the ER docs in stitches, yes…I do see the pun there.


She never does anything halfway. It’s complete or not at all. When she decided to take up archery, little did I know….she’d go and go and go and go…until she hit that mark. Summers around here, are marked by trips to the sporting goods store to get more arrows. And I’ve never been big on cramming a child’s day chalk full of so many activities, they have no time to explore their own minds. In a way, that’s a dangerous game. They need to figure that out while we’re there to watch safely from the sidelines. Too much, too young, creates conflict when they finally get to venture out into the world all on their own. She chooses her hobbies, nothing is forced.

I don’t think she’s met a hobby she didn’t like. Especially on the water….


If I had to pick my favorite part…the best of who she is…I could not. There are so many. I love her humor, her curiosity, her argumentative way of getting that darned point across, those eye rolls I get if I try to add mushrooms or tomatoes  to her food…the constant…NEED…to try something new. The casual tossing aside of  the laptop or phone, for an interesting read. The outer beauty that she doesn’t know  she has….

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Combined with an inner beauty that would  overshadow a  Paul Ce’zanne, GEORGIA O’KEEFFE or Vincent Van Gogh . She knows when to hold back and when to push forward. Her heart isn’t plastered on her sleeve, but it’s not hidden in the shadows either. With just the right amount of emotion and logic, the ease with which one can listen to and comprehend  her constantly changing complexities…it’s absolutely flawless.

For this child, my hope is a life of adventure, love , questions, knowing when to go against the grain, when to lead and when to follow. With a child like this one, it’s not the  parents job to lead, it’s only ours to follow.  Knowing how to quiet her mind and when to let it explode with everything she has. Fire and snowflakes, her mind collides and yet does not collapse. It has a meter, a tempo….an unwritten song waiting to be played out. And oh how I hope I’m there to hear the finished ballad….

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