tell our daughters

The first paragraph is always the hardest. In all my years in academics, writing research papers, preparing presentations, the first paragraph has always been the hardest to write. Toph, my husband, advises “Start in the middle. Start with what you know and then go back to the beginning.” Good advice from a gifted writer. I have a hard time following his suggestion, even though I know he hates to see me struggle. I like to start at the beginning.

So where do I begin with a new blog? Something I never thought I would do . . . blog. The sound of the word is rather unappealing, like ‘smog’ or ‘fog’ . . . uncertain, clouded. Yet, I hope to gain insight by doing it. I want to record the moments of our doing, to reflect upon them, even get feedback about them.

This homeschooling journey has been so unexpected, but what a blessing it has been to my life, to our lives. We are all basking in the joy of being together, learning together, working out the gliches together. Of course I still have those moments of doubt. I still sometimes wake up in the early hours of the morning and worry if what we have chosen to do is the “right” thing for our girls, in the long run. One thing is absolutely certain — homeschooling has been wonderful for our family life, and for now that is more than enough.

I love knowing that the large majority of messages the girls are receiving have been preordained by my husband and I, that the lovely bubble of family and friends that we have created around them is filled with messages of love, encouragement and guidance. I am not under the illusion that this will last forever. I am aware that the days that this will be true, especially for Starling, are numbered. But for now I am relishing the control. It is a gift to have the job of protector. I fully accept the role of mama bird, tending to my little hairless chicks, their mouths wide open and hungry for life, knowing that in the blink of an eye they will fly from the nest that we have built. But oh, how glorious they will look in flight!

This reminds me of a lovely poem by Besmilr Brigham.

tell our daughters

each is beautiful

a woman’s life

makes it (that awareness)

through her touch


of strict age

set against vanity

not secure in loveliness

a girl is born

like a little bird opening its wing

she lifts her face

in a down of feathers

a rose

opens its leaves

with such a natural care

that we give words for

petal deep

in the imagination

a word becomes

a bitter thing

or a word is

an imagination

tell our daughers they are

fragile as a bird

strong as the rose

deep as a word

and let them make

their own growing time

big with tenderness



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