My oldest granddaughter is beginning her first year of college. I am inordinately proud of her. She has always been a thinker, a planner, an original. When she was in elementary school, her teachers would ask her for book recommendations! She blew through three Kindles—using them for hours daily exacted a toll. I thought I read a lot, but Maddie has surpassed me there. Yet, she always has time for friends and for other interests as well. She is now 1,000+ miles away (as of Sunday). Just before she left we celebrated her 18th birthday. Here is the poem I wrote for her, borrowing the title from Georgia Heard’s wonderful book about teaching poetry writing to children.
Awakening the Heart
I am your Mom-Mom,
Your cheerleader and your advocate.
When you were born,
I was there to see your face and to hear your lusty cry.
I was there when your appearance awakened my heart.
You were so tiny, so fragile, so beautiful.
Your presence made bright promises of a future yet to be.
Now you are eighteen.
Off to college, on to new experiences and a fresh tomorrow.
I will not be there to see your face on campus,
Nor will I be there to hear you voice your developing ideas.
My presence will be in spirit—
In the confidence you have to be Maddie and nobody else;
In the essential qualities and principles
That make you YOU.
My presence will be in the idea of “home”
A place of green space and sun and unlimited, unasked-for love.
I am your Mom-Mom who adores you,
Wishing you days of brightness,
Wishing you infinite perfection,
Like a skater tracing figure eights on ice.