Sadness Comes in Waves


Photo by Amrita Seth



Earlier this week, as my nine-year-old and I were getting ready for bed, I was struck by how much taller she has gotten in the past four months. “You’re growing up right before my eyes,” I told her, recognizing the cliché as the words were coming out of my mouth. “What do you mean?” she asked. “Well, you’re almost up to my shoulders, for one thing. And you seem to know so much.” “Is it a little sad?” she probed. I was surprised by her question. “What do you mean?” “You know, because I’m kind of like in between a little girl and a 'tween and you might miss the days when I was a little girl.” "You're right," I mused. It can be sad at times. But it's a different kind of sad. Like sad and happy at the same time, like knowing this moment is a memory I'll want to hold onto." "Because I'll always be your little girl?" she asked. "Yeah," I said. "Although it would be totally fine with me if you wanted to help out with the dishes more often." "Nah," she said with her trademark wink and snap. "I don't want to take that away from you." The conversation reminded me of this poem I wrote exactly five years ago this week, bringing in a familiar nostalgia as I sit in this liminal space between past and future. Wherever this poem finds you, I wish you the space to both remember and imagine. xoxo, Jennifer

Sadness Comes in Waves (from Brainstorms) Sadness comes in waves, its triggers unpredictable. One day the sight of my daughter laughing with her friends in dance class sent me over the edge. Sometimes it’s the feel of her hand in my grip, and the knowing I will need to release it. She places her index finger on my nose and asks me to do the same to her. Our foreheads touch as we kiss goodnight. She says she saw someone do that on an airplane once. There are times when I have the urge to engulf her and squeeze so tightly, as though I was pulling her back into my womb. It takes all my strength to loosen the grip, giving her room to become herself, though I would keep her wrapped up in my love forever.

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