Little She-Who-Is Turns 11

photo Happy Birthday to my firstborn, my little she-who-is, my Caroline, maker of parents and (mostly) happy tween.

We're supposed to get snow today, so I was going to post a poem I wrote about her several years ago, called "snowflakes," but I see I did that two years ago.

So here's another poem that came to mind last weekend during Caroline's slumber party when the girls were playing sardines. I've never liked games involving hiding. But I do play with my kids sometimes. This one was written when she was about 3 1/2:

it's how you play the game

twenty-eight twenty-nine twenty… a confused pause, a quick conference with a deeper voice— thirty, and i crouch behind the brown chair, head bowed but neck turned, eyes wide on the place where she will appear. my whole life, i have hated this part, the breathless silence after the counting, the frantic beating in the brain, the stalking, swishing tip-toe of socks, the pouncing, never-knowing-when—the unpredictable inevitable. but the way we play there is no breakneck dash for home. whenever she finds me, curled up and twisted, i am calm, my heart locked in its place, beating a glad, redemptive rhythm.

~

Image: I've been putting little heart messages on the kids' doors this week. These are replies Caroline has been posting for me. <3