{look how proud we were of your beautiful self! taken just moments after your birth on 6.23.97}

To my sweet Caroline,

Thirteen years ago, to this very day, you came into the world like one of the Wild Things, 'roaring your terrible roar & gnashing your terrible teeth' (even though you had none). Tonight, I spent a good part of your birthday evening poring over photos of your first year, remembering all the little tantrums you threw and the way you had your dad and I wrapped around your dimpled little pinky finger. We were so eager to please you, like any good new parents are. You would holler and we would be at the ready to meet your every need. The problem was that we were so enamored with you and it caused us to overlook all sorts of rascally behaviors. When I look at these pictures now, all of these remembrances wash over me like a wave and I feel a bit foolish for all the missteps I made in that first year as your mum. So many things I would change, if given the chance. But, you know, it's a good thing that's not possible because it's in the mistakes that we find the learning, and, oh boy, did I do a lot of learning that year. And the next year. And the next ...

There's something inexplicable about the magic of your firstborn babe. She brings you to a place you've never been, a place you didn't even know existed. She will be the first to crack open your heart, splitting it so wide that you struggle to accommodate the enormity of this newfound love. At times, it will feel like too much. And, at times, not enough. All in the same breath. It's confusing, exhilarating and undeniably the wildest ride of your life. The poet Mary Oliver said it best when she wrote that "to live in this world, you must be able to do three things; to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it: and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go."

So, that's where I find myself on the eve of the thirteenth anniversary of your birth: feeling a bit lost, trying to figure out how to 'let it go, let it go'. With admittedly more than a little trepidation, I've noticed your increasing need to stretch your wings, to grow into a new definition of yourself. Of course, noticing and accepting are two very different capabilities in my skill set. With that said, I'm beginning to understand that my work with you now is to negotiate that intricate balance between creating a space for you to explore and simultaneously guiding you to notice all that is goodness, truth, and light.

The curious thing about that whole notion is that it's also the very same thing I'm trying to do for myself. Maybe we could just teach other? Because, if you really think about it, we've already been doing it for the past thirteen years. I mean, really ... why mess with a good thing?

With a great big love for your beautiful thirteen year-old self,
your ever-so-grateful mum

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  1. What sweet words! And seriously? You look this good after just having a baby? NO FAIR!

  2. Oh, Kiera ... you are sweet for saying that! I thought I definitely looked a little worse for the wear, but oh-so-happy ... good times! ;-)

  3. OK now I need to take writing lessons from you...and photography lessons. Once I was your teacher , now I sit at your feet, my sweet and tender hearted girl. Just beautiful!

  4. this is so beautiful Holly. Can't believe she's thirteen- a teenager! Thanks for being my 'mama role-model' love the space and guiding balance- I join you on the journey...

  5. Thank you, thank you for your kind words!

  6. Hi Holly- Its your cousin, starlyn here. LOVE the post, makes me a little less scared to someday embark on motherhood. You have a very beautiful family! Happy Birthday to Caroline!


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