Gone are the teens. (until we meet again.)

Yesterday, after out-of-towning for five days we came home to an empty house. I went straight for the bedroom, dumping five canvas bags of clothes onto the floor at the foot of my bed before hauling ass to the bathroom to pee.

Archer immediately got to work on his Lego universe at the dining room table and Fable as she often does, disappeared. I emerged from the bathroom moments later, calling her name. I looked for her in the playroom, bedroom, kitchen to ask Archer if he'd seen his sister.

"No. She disappeared again. Will you help me build this ladder?"

The bedroom door was closed. I ever so slightly pushed it open, slowly revealing a little girl surrounded by clothes. My clothes. And shoes scattered around her like a crooked frame. One by one she pulled my shirts and dresses, skirts and bras over her head and stood in front of the mirror.
"Mama?" she asked herself.

"Mama?" she asked me when I pushed open the door and asked her what she was doing.

Caught in the act, she smiled at me, motioning me to come sit down, in her proud pile of my now-dusty, once-clean clothes. She handed me one of my dresses, a pair of shoes, draped a bra over my head.

"Ooooh!" she sang.

She wanted us to play dress-up together.

Fable is twenty-months old today. No longer a teen-monther learning to walk. No longer a baby sleeping against me at night. She carries her own purse around, sits at my feet and watches me apply lipstick, offering her face to my collection of brushes.
"Mine?" she asks.

She cradles her family of baby owls, pushes her cart full of stuffed penguins, eats corn-on-the-cob with feet dangling over the bench outside on the grass. She races up the ramp outside Archer's school when we go to pick him up and prefers to nap outside in her stroller, in the shade. She never took a pacifier, instead relying on my cheeks to rub with the back of her hand when she's tired. Or sad. Or afraid. She sits with her face against the window and watches the birds. She tucks her babies in every night before bed and kisses their cheeks.

"Just wait until she's a teenager," people say as she scurries down the sidewalks clutching her baby doll and purse full of empty makeup canisters.
And I'll admit, I used to be afraid of all that. Of daughters, especially what it might mean, raising ours here, in this town. Of the pressures and the gamblers and her dreams. Of being yelled at through slammed doors as shoes went missing from closets. Dresses stained from being borrowed - warning her of the dangers of her body. Keeping her young without keeping her from life. Having to choose between telling her the truth about my past or lying to her.

"I never tried drugs. I waited to have sex. My fingers are crossed behind my back."

It's hard not to think about all those things, watching my children grow. Her, especially. Maybe because I can relate to her being female. Maybe because she, more than anybody, helps me better understand my own past. My relationship with my mother, other women, myself.
There's so much time and so little all at once. But with Fable, I think much but worry little if at all. She is the cloud that carries me happily from one thought to the next, my bridge between days, the light and the sun and the smile to every face and every doubt and every fear I thought I had in the beginning.

For the last twenty-months, Fable has been my happy place. And that, no the matter, will not change.
The other day Archer told us, "When you picked Fable from the baby store, you picked the perfect baby sister for me."

"And the perfect daughter for me," I said, picking up, once again, after Fable and her trail of empty makeup canisters and stuffed penguins. A dozen lipsticks open, smeared all over the mirrors.
And her, making the slowest getaway of all time, tripping down the hall in a fit of giggles, clad in a pair of my shoes.

GGC

46 comments:

glenda | 12:58 PM

OMG what a beautiful post. I have a son and a daughter. They are 3 yrs apart. The best of friends. And my son is my partner and my daughter is my shining star. I can so relate to her. Enjoy every minute of every day with both of your kiddos.

Danielle (elleinadspir) | 1:06 PM

gosh...you made me cry! Beautiful.

Still Life With Coffee | 1:13 PM

"and the perfect daughter for me"
oh yes, I totally love how that happens. It's amazing how we get exactly what we needed. Lovely lovely mother/daugher post.

Baby in Broad | 1:27 PM

Such a lovely little girl, with such wonderful women on her side! She is the perfect daughter for you - and that makes you the perfect mother for her.

Celina | 2:23 PM

My son is 3 and has been obsessed with his little baby penguin just like Fable. :)

My Bottle's Up! | 2:42 PM

so lovely, pictures and words... when on earth did she reach 20 months?!?!?! good grief!!!!! it's like you just had her yesterday.

JCF | 2:46 PM

Beautiful post, and a beautiful little girl. I have a son first, and then a daughter (17 months now). I love, love, love my son. He is my little buddy. He cracks me up. We build towers and trains together. But Sweet E is my DAUGHTER. I don't know what it is about that (and you can pretty close to capturing how I feel about her in this post) that just can't be put into words and takes my breath away every single day.

Anonymous | 3:06 PM

Uh huh. Right. Just wait. I hope you're still blogging then. It will be fun to read about the massive train wreck that will be her adolescence.

flyrish | 3:42 PM

Happy 20 months day, Fable! The relationship between Archer and Fable is too precious. I have a 17-month-old son and I hope to someday give him the "perfect baby sister."

sabrina | 4:12 PM

I swear Fable and her stories make my heart melt. I have a 3yr old girl who is pretty much the same, but I unlike you, worry about what she will become in the teenage years. I wasn't the nicest daughter or sister, I hope she learns from my mistakes.

Chrissy Johnson | 4:46 PM

Since I don't know you people in real life I'll go ahead and throw this out there: this post makes me sad that we've decided not to have any more children, especially a daughter. I love my little guy but the thought of his calm and thoughtful little self as a big brother to a beautiful little sister is like a pretty fantasy I won't get to live. Sniff, Sniff.

wonderchris | 5:32 PM

What a love post!! She certainly is splendid.

PopMommy Pam | 6:01 PM

Beautiful. I feel the same way about my daughter. I am equally overwhelmed with love and fear and wonder. I always thought I was a "boy" type of mother (I had my son first) until I had my little girl.

jess; [the bottle chronicles] | 6:09 PM

I love this. It's so beautiful! I fall more in love with that name every time I hear it.

Shan | 6:21 PM

Wow, Fable looks more and more like Archer with every passing minute. What a lucky girl she is to be part of a family like yours!

Elaine | 7:10 PM

I love your writing, you inspire me to leave something concrete and beautiful for my son to have so that maybe, just maybe, he will one day have an idea of who he is, what he has done for me and an idea of just how wonderful these years are for us. Thank you, thsnk you, thank you. For this beautiful inspiration, for these words so beautifully laid out.

Mary | 7:35 PM

Awwwwwwww.

What an absolutely beautiful story. It put a huge smile across my face.

So lovely. Thank you.

Brooke | 9:15 PM

You share my sentiments exactly regarding my daughter Charlotte, and I. My fears, my hopes, my dreams.. It's perfect (and btw, she is 5 and still I find her in my closet, and myself carrying her purse)

Laura | 9:58 PM

beautiful post, as always. But may I ask what are exactly the "warning her of the dangers of her body"?

Anonymous | 10:36 PM

Lovely post. We have that same Baby Penguin, as he was named, and it was my son's #1 companion for a good chunck on time when he was 3-4. He's now 6 and has outgrown that phase, but those pics made me nostalgic for the time we couldn't leave the house without a special companion. My daughter is 1 month younger than Fable, so I love keeping up with her growth through your blog. I had a similar fear of having a daughter and all those things that go with it and I have to say that I've almost completely dropped the fear since Kennedy has been born. Now that she is a reality, I just know that we'll be able to work through any of the difficulties and that she is so worth the extra effort her girlness might take in a few years :-).

Laura

Anonymous | 12:40 AM

Oh My Hat - my daughter is 20 months as well - and she is just like your Fable Angel Child. Loves all things girly. Having a daughter after 2 boys is like a breathe of fresh pink air. I love it - I love the whole exploration of all things girly and look forward to sharing her future of boys, clothes, make-up, music and of cause her education. Thank God for Little Girls!

Mammy P | 4:10 AM

I have two boys. Even our CAT is a boy. I'm totally outnumbered! I love that I can come to your blog and get a bit of girly balance. :-)

x

Althea | 5:16 AM

One of my biggest fears (right after the fear of a zombie takeover) is having a daughter. Will she rage towards me in her teen years as I raged against my mother.
This post; along with so many others of yours, gives me hope.

lisette | 6:46 AM

this was a beautiful post, it's wonderful to have someone to relate to sometimes in terms of fears with daughters and our own past. i saw party girls i knew go on to become mothers of sons, wiping the sweat off of their brows like "wheww, thank god i had a son". but i had a daughter and even thought she's only 4 months (almost 5) i get worried about what i will tell her about my life before her. about my ehm, experimentations with substances, about my walks of shame after house parties, about the time i ran away with the "omg love of my life!" in freshman year (we came home the next day lol)

<3 i'm not a hugger, but if i could, i would ehug you right now, you're post never disappoint.

lisette | 6:48 AM

your*

Sarah | 7:47 AM

Fable is my happy place too, I always come here to look at your beautiful pictures when I need cheering. Thank you for all the wonderful posts that lift my spirits.

Hannah | 8:00 AM

I've read your blog each day for over year...anxiously anticipating updates, and disappointed if I don't get my daily dose of your thoughts. I've shed many tears reading, and I feel like we're old friends though you don't even know my name. I felt compelled to post a comment because as the mother of an amazing seven year old daughter and eight year old twin boys, this post struck such a chord and I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for opening yourself up to all of us and thank you for giving me a chance each day to slow down and take a deep breath. And thank you today for giving me even more reason to marvel at how amazing my little girl is.

Agnieszka | 8:05 AM

Oh, Rebecca, you are such a beautiful writer. And Fable is such a gorgeous little girl. I am sooo jealous...

Kaitlyn | 8:59 AM

This is suck a beautiful post. I have two daughters, 4 and 2. And it's all the same fears about self respect and not growing up too fast. But more than any of the worries, they have taught me so much about life and myself and my past. Fable is lucky to have you, too.

superblondgirl | 10:04 AM

What a gorgeous post - though I love, love, love my son of course, it made my heart pitter-patter for a little girl (I always imagined myself as mom of a girl, not a boy).
Thanks, Rebecca - this was beautiful.

Lindsay | 12:04 PM

This is a really nice post. Makes me want to roll the dice and hope for a girl after two boys.

Ashley, the Accidental Olympian | 12:22 PM

Tears.

Oh the way you write.

Anonymous | 1:54 PM

Does Archer still live there?

Ray | 2:27 PM

"Just wait until she's a teenager," people say as she scurries down the sidewalks clutching her baby doll and purse full of empty makeup canisters.

^^When I read that the first time it made me emotional. You still have so much time before that. I know you will make the most out of your life, with Fable.

Your perspective on life, and how you see your children is astonishing. It's magical and beautiful. Fable and Archer are OH-SO-LUCKY to have you as their mother.

And oh does Archer say the sweetest things!!! Fable couldn't have had a better brother than him. She in turn is also lucky, to have such a wonderful big brother.

Your family is truly amazing. You truly are.

You wrote: "It's hard not to think about all those things, watching my children grow. Her, especially. Maybe because I can relate to her being female. Maybe because she, more than anybody, helps me better understand my own past. My relationship with my mother, other women, myself."

^^I can't understand this because I'm not a mother to a daughter, but you make me want to understand that feeling one day. (Maybe.)

<3

jessica | 3:44 PM

I found 10-13 to be the worst years ever with my now 15 yr old. She was an incredible baby, a horrible pre-teen and now she is a pretty cool teenager. It's great to feel this way again after so many years of feeling like I could wish her away if given the chance. Hopefully you will feel this way always.

cmo | 10:24 PM

God dammit! Ug.

Jenmae | 7:17 AM

I found your blog only a few days ago and have been hooked, using all of my "free time" to read your past entries. It's posts like this one that will have me reading your blog for as long as you continue to write it.

You inspire me to be a better mom, to see more good than bad, and to stop and really be in the moment with my daughter more often.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

mommica | 4:05 PM

My daughter is my happy place, too. How can we be sad or worry or complain too much when we are blessed with such wonderful little people?

bluejeanamy | 6:53 PM

such a perfect way of describing mama/daughter love. harper's my happy place, too. thanks for the great post, lady.

Ida Mae | 8:35 PM

so
awesome
i hope to have a baby girl one day
your post makes me not so scared
~ida mae

MOMSICLE VIBE | 9:38 PM

It is such a privilege to know that kind of love. To here it echo in another mother's heart deepens the joy.

sumvision cyclone | 11:32 PM

nice baby and nice photography and also visit nice place.

Ashley | 6:39 PM

I have a twenty-one month old daughter...and you just said everything I feel each day! The mother - daughter bond is amazing, isn't it?!
Thank you for your beautiful words...

Anonymous | 10:03 AM

Reading about your experiences with your daughter Fable are extra special to me because my daughter Camilla is exactly the same age as Fable. You always manage to make me cry with your posts. You are so poignant and genuine. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us!

Claudia | 10:05 AM

Rebecca, reading about your experiences with your daughter Fable are extra special to me because my daughter Camilla is exactly the same age as Fable. She was born on October 2nd, 2008 and is 20-months-old as well. Your post always manage to make me cry! You are so poignant and genuine. Thank you for sharing your posts with us!

kittenpie | 11:21 AM

Och, you two are killing me. I totally get this, because The Bun makes me happy the same way, but you two are just gorgeous together.

Melty kittenpie.