Last September my daughter Bailey moved away to college. As anyone who has gone through this knows, the transition in your life is profound. For 17 years I was a part of her daily life and she, mine. Knowing that growing up and growing apart is normal and that she is happy and succeeding is a sign that our parenting actually worked, helps a bit. It’s still change, and change can be hard.
I wanted to find a way to share our lives with her beyond our texts, video chats, or phone calls. I wanted to remember this year for the important time it was. Not only were changes going on in our personal lives, but unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you might have noticed some major shifts and events in our country as well.
She’s busy studying and building a life. How can I succinctly share my life with her each week? How could I document events, reactions, emotions, hopes, concerns in a way that doesn’t overwhelm her? …….POETRY.
With an economy of words, poems can express so much with so little. Poetry encourages me to reflect on the significant ideas I want to share and captures a point in time I want to remember. My poems aren’t great. They are frequently quick writes and not revised. But they are a “from the heart” correspondence each week that I send to her and I keep a copy in a book that will memorialize our first year apart.
So as I blog this month, I will share some of these poems. They are truly Slices of My Life in this year of change. Here’s an example of a slice in our year:
Nevertheless, She Persisted
Reading a letter
From a time not distant enough
From a woman not honored enough
She was warned.
Speaking the words
That were relevant then
That are relevant now
She was given an explanation.
Challenging the privilege
Of the old white man
Protecting another old white man
Nevertheless, She Persisted.
And so we carry on with our lives, and I write to remember. Here’s to Documentary Poetry!