Sunday, April 26, 2009

On my daughter's 18th birthday

To a Daughter Leaving Home
Linda Pastan

When I taught you
at eight to ride
a bicycle, loping along
beside you
as you wobbled away
on two round wheels,
my own mouth rounding
in surprise when you pulled
ahead down the curved
path of the park,
I kept waiting
for the thud
of your crash as I
sprinted to catch up,
while you grew
smaller, more breakable
with distance,
pumping, pumping
for your life, screaming
with laughter,
the hair flapping
behind you like a
handkerchief waving
I first read this poem when Shameka was 8 and was learning to ride a bike. Today she turned 18, and we gave her a fitting gift- a new bike. I feel called like an evangelist to tell every mother of every 8 year old to look long and hard at them as they ride away.
And Shameka- don't forget your helmet. I love you


donna said...

I felt sure there would be a birthday tribute to your dear Shameka and what a sweet one it is. You come up with the best poems and this one is so fitting for your oldest daughter.

Suzanne said...

Happy Birthday little girl!
If you had any idea of how proud we are of you, you would surely know we are 'in danger of hell's fire'. But how can we suppress it? You are a dream come true. Literally.