Thursday, August 31, 2006



"I Trust You'll Treat Her Well"

I cut this poem out of my local newspaper 13 years ago, when TP was only five years old, right before she started kindergarten. The clipping is now yellowed and curled. It has stayed up on the fridge, held by various magnets over the years. I remember the day well when I first cut it out and hung it there - how quickly the seasons have come and gone. Each time I clean the outside of the fridge, I smile - although, over the past several months, I must admit that the smile has been replaced with a few tears, at times, a wistful sigh. Even though it's specifically written for a kindergartner, it still seems appropriate, as TP is headed off into the world a week from today. You'll notice a couple of time I used an asterisk to denote that I changed the male voice of the writer to a female voice.

DEAR WORLD. . . I TRUST YOU'LL TREAT HER WELL

WORLD: I bequeath to you today one little girl in a crispy dress. . . with two blue eyes. . .
And a happy laugh that ripples all day long, and a batch of light blonde hair that bounces in the sunlight when she runs.
I trust you'll treat her well.
She's slipping out of the backyard of my heart this morning and skipping off down the street to her first day of school.
And never again will she be completely mine. . .
Prim and proud, she'll wave a young and independent hand this morning, and say goodby and walk with little-lady steps to the nearby schoolhouse. . .
Gone will be the chattering little hoyden who lived only for play, and gone will be the delightful little gamin who roamed the yard like a proud princess with nary a care in her little world.
Now, she will learn to stand in lines. . . and wait by the alphabet for her name to be called. . .
She will learn to tune her little-girl ears for the sound of school bells, and for deadlines. . .
She will learn to giggle and gossip. . .
And to look at the ceiling in a disinterested way when the little boy across the aisle sticks out his tongue.
Now she will learn to be jealous. . . and now she will learn how it is to feel hurt inside. . . and now she will learn how not to cry. . .
No longer will she have time to sit on the front porch steps on a summer day and watch while an ant scurries across a crack in the sidewalk. . .
Or will she have time to pop out of bed with the dawn to kiss lilac blossoms in the morning dew. . .
Now she will worry about important things. . . like grades. . . and what dresses to wear. . . and whose best friend is whose. . .
Now she will worry about the little boy who pulls her hair at recess time. . . and staying after school. . . and which little girls like which little boys. . .
And the magic of books and knowledge will soon take the place of the magic of her blocks and dolls.
And she will find new heroes. . .
For five full years I've been her sage and Santa Claus. . . her pal and playmate. . . her mother* and her friend. . .
Now, alas, she'll learn to share her worship and adoration with her teachers (which is only right). . .
And no longer will I be the smartes, greatest woman* in the world. . .
Today, when the first school bell rings, she'll learn how it is to be a member of the group. . . with all its privileges, and, of course, its disadvantages, too.
She will learn in time that proper young ladies do not laugh out loud. . . or kiss dogs. . . or keep frogs in pickle jars in bedrooms. . . or watch ants scurry across the cracks in a summer sidewalk. . .
Today, she will begin to learn for the first time that all who smile at her are not her friends. . . That "the group" can be a demanding mistress. . .
And I'll stand on the porch and watch her start out on the long, long journey to becoming a woman. . .
So World, I bequeath to you today one little girls in a crispy dress and two blue eyes. . .
And a happy laugh that ripples all day long, and a batch of light blonde hair that bounces in the sunlight when she runs.
I trust you'll treat her well.
~DAN VALENTINE~

This poem describes TP perfectly - fifteen years ago and today - as she faces the next leg of her journey towards becoming a woman.






5 Comments:

At 12:04 AM, Blogger Gina Burgess said...

Oh, how sweet, Val! I really like this :)

 
At 12:59 PM, Blogger Julana said...

That is so sad. I feel that, just sending my son off to third grade.

 
At 4:45 PM, Blogger Vicki said...

It stirs my own feelings of the not-so-long ago, when I sent my three out into the world.

Blessings to you this weekend. Hope you have a good one!

 
At 3:12 AM, Blogger Barbara said...

My baby is 14 (15 in May)- She starts what we call year 10 - the first of our two year exam programme...

I KNOW!

 
At 9:27 AM, Blogger My Kid's Mom said...

Gina - Isn't it great?

Julana - It's rather bittersweet, isn't it?

Vicki - I hope you have a wonderful weekend, too. I'll be over for a visit soon.

Barbara - I wish your youngest all the best!

 

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