Friday, June 19, 2009

Where, oh Where, has my Little Girl Gone?

Watching my little girl change every day since the day she was born has been beautiful, exciting, and challenging. She has been changing in what seems a blink of the eye and continues to change right before my eyes, and all for the better. She is turning into a brighter and better version of her younger self. It is happening and has happened that quick.

It seems it was only yesterday that my daughter loved everything pink and princessey. Then she loved everything blue and Barbie. That transition seemed a natural progression and wasn't so rough, or at least I didn't think so at the time when, three years ago, we gave her permission to pick the paint color she wanted for her room - a bright turquoise blue. It went well with the Barbie theme that we bought in the form of curtains, wall border, and bedding.

The next thing you know, she started giving some of her toys away to other, littler girls who would appreciate them. She's always been generous like that, and it was okay with us - change is normal. The next to follow were the curtains - bye, bye pink flowers - and the wallpaper border and decals were decidedly too princessey and too Barbiey. Soon her room was sporting just the bright blue walls and white trims adorned with blue sparkly curtains. It all had seemed harmless at the time.

She, like so many other young girls, was into the Camp Rock craze, and that's when she first found out about the Jonas Brothers. We bought her a cool and pricey comforter set. No problem, it went with the blue. Then over the months, she began boxing her "little girl" toys and things up "to sell in the garage sale." Again, I said, "No problem, she's simply growing out of them." And it was a good way for her to declutter, organize, and make a little pocket change.

And also during that time, she had been into the High School Musical craze. I remember when she just had to have a cool embroidered hat, the one she had to wear all the time and could barely get off her head. The day I took her and one of her best friends to see the third movie, she gave that same hat away. And while I should have known what was coming with her waning interest, I didn't, and continued to think of her in the same way - my little girl.

Because somewhere floating in my mind and lurking like shadows were the memories of the girl who loved Blue's Clues, My Little Ponies, and the Disney Princesses; the girl who loved to wear pigtails, pink dresses, and high-heeled shoes.

Something was happening that I couldn't see, or perhaps didn't want to see. Right before my eyes and without me noting it, the little girl had begun growing up.

Then she started begging to check for the latest issue of Tiger Beat every time we went to the grocery store. Soon her once bare bedroom walls were becoming papered with posters of the adorable-moody pouts of the Jonas Brothers - Nick Jonas in particular. Now multiple sets of eyes are watching me whenever I enter her room.

As her fifth-grade year progressed, wound down, and ticked away, she became the owner of an iPod and several CDs that she plays loudly on her CD player/radio, she watches music videos online and follows Fred, and she has her own website with her friends.

This summer she's busy, busy with classes and camps. For the first time, she's going to overnight camp just like the big girls and will be doing something she loves - riding horses.

As for me and my feelings about my little girl growing up... I can't say I mind. I think I've accepted it because there is nothing else I can do. I will admit that her growing up has felt as though it has snuck up on me even though in reality it hasn't. I think I have known what has been coming all along...or at least I think I have.

Monday, May 11, 2009

For My Mom

On Saturday, my daughter and I went to the Mother/Daughter Tea at my Mom's church. Parishioners were asked to submit memories of their mothers. My Mom wrote one and it was included in the program for the tea. I told her that because it was so good and her writing was so good that she should start up a blog and post it. Since my Mom doesn't have a blog and isn't thinking of starting one up, I decided that I would post it on mine and, of course, give her all the credit. So here's to you, Mom, and to your wonderful memory of your mother!

A Few Ruffled Feathers
by Yvonne Walsh

Back in the 40's, when we had moved from the city to the farm, my mother, who was just a tiny bit of a woman, always kept a flock of chickens, mostly for fresh eggs, but any pikers in the egg laying production were most likely to wind up in the pot for Sunday dinner. Her chickens "free ranged," that is they were allowed to run completely free all over the farm, so it was easy for a predator, either a fox or hawk or raccoon, to eye them up for the menu of the day, always on the lookout to waylay an unsuspecting hen before she made it safely to the coop or the pot, whichever came first.

One day, when Mom stood at the kitchen sink doing dishes, she glanced out the window and saw what she presumed to be a large hawk in the process of air lifting a plump hen. The hen was squawking her head off and running around the yard as fast as her two legs could carry her, with the hawk swooping down in hot pursuit. It had just latched its talons onto the hen when a small tornado wielding a broom burst out of the back door of the house.


"Let go of that chicken, you buzzard!"


The startled white feathered creature flew up into the air with the hapless hen still in its clutches and came right at mom, its wing span all of six feet wide. This definitely was not a hawk! But was mom daunted -- ! No, she drew back with the broom and got in a few more lobs, for all like a Wimbledon champ, and the would be chicken snatcher decided to cease and desist. He knew when he was on the losing end of the stick. He dropped his would be lunch and reeled across the field to a fence post where he lighted and sat for several hours, trying to get his aching cranium and addled thoughts in order. Perhaps the greatest injury was to his pride.

The poor dazed and bedraggled hen was restored safely to the coop but a defiant mom still stood guard with her trusty broom in hand, just in case of a counter attack. It wasn't until she went back into the house and her adrenalin had returned to normal that she thought about the size of the feathered predator and of the harm that he could have done to her with its huge claws. And, being our mom, later on she made a trip to the library -- this was WAY before computers! -- and found out that what she had assumed to be a hawk was actually and Alaskan Snowy White Owl that definitely decided that it was not advisable when traveling to stop off in Michigan at a bed-and-breakfast, especially when it was managed by a feisty little lady with her trusty broom in hand.

For some reason we never saw Mr. Owl again.

Days in the Life of Merry