Tuesday, September 12, 2006


When you are a young first-time mother, people doubt in your ability to ever raise a child properly, to finish college, to provide a home. They tell you your marriage will crumble in a year or two...your children will never have the things they need...you will no longer get to live your wild, inspired life on your own terms.

When you are a young first-time mother, you believe them...at first.

Then the child is in your arms, holding your hand on graduation day, laughing as you and her father kiss...year in and year out, for a decade and then some. At times, you worry that she is missing out on some things--that she is watching her parents become adults and knows the inherent struggles too well. School comes, and you secretly worry that "they" were right all along and she will be somehow lagging behind peers and inappropriately dressed--like she'll be tagged, day one, as having parents who started a bit too soon.

The dreaded call-from-the-teacher comes...but, instead of being about the things she may "lack"--it is about the giftedness you hadn't really noticed at all. When you don't know better, having a three-year-old who reads slim chapter books seems normal...deep discussions about the matter of life and death with a four year old don't shock anymore...your daughter as a dissertation subject for a PhD candidate from a local university seems just a part of the process.

Besides, you already knew she was a gift.

When you are with someone like my oldest daughter, the concerns, the fears, the uncertainties, and the masks all fall away. I have become the person I am not in spite of Petunia, but because of her. Because she dreams big, so do I...because she believes in me, I believe in myself...

When I was a young first-time mother, people said my life would be over. I didn't realize it then...but, it would only begin once we met.

Petunia's latest poem:

Summer is fierce--
glowing like suns...
Running through a field--
wind blowing your long, silky hair...
whipping your dress only to make you fall
Down a hill--
Landing on
a sudden happiness.

--Petunia, 2006...age nine--


Blogger paris parfait said...

Wow! What a poet young Petunia is! You must be so proud. Lovely tribute to your talented children - and to their mom! :)

6:37 PM  
Blogger brittany said...

I love this! I can relate, sometimes people have little faith when it comes to starting families young.

beautiful as always.

8:31 PM  
Anonymous January said...

Lovely post! Like mother like daughter, Petunia has your talent and beauty.

As a mom who just spent the last 15 minutes trying to get the kids down for bed, it was "calming" to read your post. And, it was a nice reminder to not forget that our kids are so full of untapped potential.

Thanks, I needed this.

9:01 PM  
Blogger Jeremy Stockwell said...

Beautiful pictures; Beautiful thoughts; Beautiful poem. Thanks for sharing all of them.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Kim G. said...

What a blessing she is. And I love how the post doesn't express bitterness or frustration with those naysayers in your life. Only pleasure that P's presence in your life took nothing away, but gave back so much in return.

11:07 PM  
Blogger Bedazzzled1 said...

I am astonished by the talent for poetry your Petunia has. It is a wonderful poem.

And your words and pictures complete the perfect SPC entry. ::smile::

12:08 AM  
Blogger Patry Francis said...

What a beautiful mother and daughter you are! I was a young mother, too, and the time I spent with my kids when they were little was so much happier than any "wild youth" could have been.

12:33 AM  
Blogger Georgia said...

Hooray for Petunia!!! She is beautiful, adn poetic, and brilliant!!!

I love everything about his post.


12:52 AM  
Blogger bb said...

*When I was a young first-time mother, people said my life would be over. I didn't realize it then...but, it would only begin once we met*

these are truly some of the most beautiful words I have ever read, they have touched me so deeply.

parents, children, it has taken time, but i know now that we give birth to each other.

you are both indeed blessed with each other. love to you two beautiful, intertwined souls. x x x x

5:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is such a beautiful post, and petunia is quite the talent!

11:17 AM  
Blogger la vie en rose said...

beautiful words...beautiful pics...beautiful poem...i'm all choked up...can anything be more beautiful???

1:04 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

Oh.My.Gosh. That poem is perfect.
And this makes me blurry-eyed, my friend. What an amazing child! No wonder you are so proud. These words make me happy.


1:37 PM  
Blogger kelly rae said...

landing on a sudden happiness. the two of you are screaming happiness in these photos. you are the example of a mother i look to for myself one day - someone who doesn't listen to the rest of the worlds chatter.

and she is a brilliant poet!

11:26 PM  
Blogger gkgirl said...

wowzers for petunia.

and you make some
excellent points.


1:04 PM  
Blogger Madeleine said...

oh Delia, i can so relate to everything you have just said.
i faced the 'looks' and the disapproval, the condescending comments from those who thought they knew best.
your daughter is amzing and so is her poetry. but i'd expect nothing less, and i mean that in the sincerest way.
i, too have a daughter(now 11) who blows my mind on a daily basis. and yes it became 'normal' to me that she was reading and writing poems at the age of 6. (she has even had one published).
but these girls of ours are our inspiration and teachers on a daily basis. i agree.
ok i will stop going on now. but i loved what you said about your daughter and your relationship.
you are both and inspiration.

8:13 PM  
Anonymous julie said...

what a lovely post!!!

11:41 AM  
Blogger acumamakiki said...

This is so beautiful ~ the pictures, your words, all of it.

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this post brought tears to my eyes, as so many of your posts do. You capture that exhultation of motherhood SO well.

Thank you!

8:23 PM  
Blogger Bohemian Girl said...

this made me cry...so beautiful.

i long for a relationship just like this with a daughter someday.

you help me dream.


2:49 AM  
Blogger tracey said...

Oh my god. I'm crying.

12:29 AM  
Blogger Left-handed Trees... said...

Thanks everyone for your kind words about my reflections on life with Petunia. Her birthday is coming, so these thoughts are on my mind often now.

9:59 AM  
Blogger [a} said...

your daughter is incredibly talented, she has such a gift with words. that is exactly what summer is to me.

4:29 AM  

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