Friday, September 28, 2007

The Circle Game (Joni Mitchell)

"And the seasons they go round and round
and the painted ponies go up and down
we're captive on the carousel of time
we can't return we can only look
behind from where we came
and go round and round and round
in the circle game..."

Today is my daughter Sarah's birthday - the poem title quoted below is 5 years behind, but no less observant of the feelings evoked when I recall her 7-pound, 12-ounce self arriving at 7:19 p.m. 26 years ago... and the impression she's made in her little-over-a-quarter-of-a-century of life...

Like myself, S is the eldest and thus possesses "the responsibility gene" - she also inherited my naturally curly hair, ready smile and heart-on-sleeve sensitivity. She always believes the best of others until proven otherwise - she expects no more than she's willing to give, which translates to immeasurably. I have watched her grow into a fine young woman, a supportive friend, a devoted daughter - she has segued from tantrum-throwing teen to citizen of the world, remembering anniversaries, talking politics and even starting a recycling program at her job.

I will always cherish the Christmas I gave her the soundtrack to Practical Magic (a movie we had enjoyed together) and she holed up in her bedroom with it - when I faintly heard, through the door, the strains of Joni Mitchell's A Case of You on repeat play... I finally knew they had not switched babies on me in the hospital... :-)

Happy birthday, daughter - I love you dearly... <3

SONG: The Circle Game by Joni Mitchell

BOOK(S): Mirror, Mirror: Forty Folk Tales for Mothers and Daughters to Share, Jane Yolen (Editor)

My Mother/My Self: The Daughter's Search for Identity by Nancy Friday

POEM: For My Daughter on Her Twenty-First Birthday by Ellen Bass

When they laid you in the crook
of my arms like a bouquet and I looked
into your eyes, dark bits of evening sky,
I thought, of course this is you,
like a person who has never seen the sea
can recognize it instantly.

They pulled you from me like a cork
and all the love flowed out. I adored you
with the squandering passion of spring
that shoots green from every pore.

You dug me out like a well. You lit
the deadwood of my heart. You pinned me
to the earth with the points of stars.

I was sure that kind of love would be
enough. I thought I was your mother.
How could I have known that over and over
you would crack the sky like lightning,
illuminating all my fears, my weaknesses, my sins.

Massive the burden this flesh
must learn to bear, like mules of love.

QUOTE: "A daughter is a mother's gender partner, her closest ally in the family confederacy, an extension of her self. And mothers are their daughters' role model, their biological and emotional road map, the arbiter of all their relationships." ~ Victoria Secunda


  1. Happy Belated Birthday to say that she is a wonderful, lovely young woman is an understatement! Brightest Blessings to you both.

  2. Hey, M ~

    I'll most certainly pass on your bright blessings - she's a good kiddo, my Sarah... <3