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We had been quiet together *

Tonight, as I lingered on the sofa after the show** Patience and Persistence put on, Persistence returned, still in her costume, and climbed up next to me.

She curled up in my right arm, and sat, still and quiet. More still and quiet than she ever is, really, even when sleeping---where she is as active as she is when awake: tossing, turning, flipping, making noise.

We sat that way for a while, neither of us in any hurry to go or do.

Patience played a room away, probably relieved to be on her own for a bit, able to run everything just as she likes it, without any interference.

And so we sat, Persistence and I, curled alongside one another on the sofa, breathing slowly and deeply, enjoying the simple presence of the other...appreciating a moment with no testing, no confirming, no pushing or pulling.

I felt her shoulder blades pressing against my arm, bony yet solid...and I thought how like a child she has become over the last six months. I rubbed her legs, long and skinny, yet strong and able to leap a dog bed in a single bound.

I caressed her cheek, round and soft.

And I wondered how it must be to live as she does, able to make out only a little of a world she so desperately needs to make sense of, but still knowing so much more than even three months ago. I wondered how it must be to live poised between babyhood and childhood, knowing so clearly what she wants to do but frustrated by so many limitations...and surrounded by those so much more capable, so far, than she is, yet.

In a rush I understood. I understood exactly how it feels to know how far you've come but how far you've got to go. I understood how it feels to be so focused on what you want to be able to do that you forget how much you can do, and do. I understood how it feels to be torn among roles and places in life.

I hugged her body---so little still yet so big already---a little tighter for a second.

Without a word, she knew. She understood and felt my empathy.

A second later, she reached up and patted my cheek then looped her little arms around my neck, and said, "My mommy."

We sat that way, together---still and quiet on the sofa, silent in our room, soft sounds of Patience's creative play drifting in from the other room---for a while longer, neither of us in any hurry to go and do.

* Title from a line in the poem April by William Carlos Williams.

** A real show, like a little play. They love to do this. It's mostly what I might call lyrical dance or interpretative dance, rather than something off the pages of Coward or Moliere, but entertaining nonetheless. I just wanted to be clear that show wasn't a euphemism for naughtiness, as might be assumed from my posts recently.

Copyright 2007 Julie Pippert
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Liv said…
oh, that Persistence is good people. my own little D does similar things- pausing for a moment every now and then to remind me that for each time i think he's difficult, he's experiencing his own struggle to make sense of his world and others' actions.
flutter said…
This was so lovely and wistful and just makes me ache to have this for my own.
NotSoSage said…
We have been going through this test, this dance ourselves lately. Thank you for the little reminder of where her head is probably at, and helping me to be just a touch more empathetic. Tomorrow is a new day.
Julie Pippert said…
Liv, they are good people. Thanks. :) And you summed it up perfectly.


Flutter, I wish for you to have what you wish for. :)


Sage, well as you read below...we have been struggling mightily. In fact, the poem I quoted is actually about being very stormy. It's a pretty brilliant poem (of's Williams) and it tickled me a bit to find the perfect line for this quiet feeling alongside the storms of late, and the below post. If that makes any sense.

Feel free to call me a Liberal Arts Literary Geek anytime. :)
alejna said…
What a calm and wonderful moment amidst the turmoil. I'm so glad you shared it.

(And, hey. Can I call you a Liberal Arts Literary Geek, too?)
Anonymous said…
Exquisite. Something tells me this won't be the last time she will need to tell you in her own way how hard it is for her to navigate this world, and how relieved she is to have you by her side.
I treasure such precious encounters.
Kellan said…
Julie - this was simply beautiful. I wished I had been there - in a dark corner - to see how special this moment was! You expressed it beautifully - I loved this post. Thanks and have a great weekend. Kellan
painted maypole said…
just so lovely, this intimate moment you've shared.
I can relate. Down to the 'my mommy'. I'm so glad you put this on paper, so you can look back later and relive it!

Sukhaloka said…
You might have been describing me there instead of Persistence. Wow.
Laura said…
What a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing!
SciFi Dad said…
You described that scene beautifully.

My daughter has similar moments, although I don't think they're as rare as Persistence's (she seems to be a little more towards Patience's temperament). They usually come on Saturday and Sunday mornings before she's fully woken up and she just wedges herself into my side and leans there.
thordora said…
Mine lean in to me somedays, sticky hands wrapped around my arms, whispering "love"..and I melt.

I love the quiet places in between...
Gwen said…
Very beautiful, Julie.
Christina said…
That was lovely. I've had moments like that with Cordy, knowing how hard she struggles to take in the world and comprehend it, yet not fully able to. It's so frustrating for her, and I wish I could make it clearer. But then in those quiet moments, we both seem to understand it all together.

I love those moments we connect.
OhTheJoys said…
Mmmmmmmm, the mama zen. I love when I'm right there in the moment like that.
dharmamama said…
That was beautiful, Julie, and you summed up the struggle so well in your words. The more we can get in a space where we can see and feel their realities, the better things go.

Thanks so much for sharing that moment.
shay said…
Oh how wonderful!
I have one the same age poised between baby and child, leaning ever closer to the child side. There is nothing like that chubby arm around your neck!
what a wonderful moment to have with your daughter.
Anonymous said…
You wrote it perfectly, Julie. Zachary and I have those moments more now, and I wonder if the three-year-old maturity is what has made them possible.

Ms. Skywalker said…
Oh, that spot, between those places.

I'm so glad you got a chance to cherish it.
Suz said…
This is really beautiful. I wonder, too, how the boys feel.
Aliki2006 said…
Those moments are so amazingly precious...and you convey this so well.
These are the moments I live for!

These make all the other nonsense worth it!

Beautiful post! :)
Lawyer Mama said…
What a perfect, quiet moment.
the dragonfly said…

As much as I want my Little Mister to stay, well, little...I sure can't wait to hear him call me mommy. :)
Kyla said…
So big and so little all at once.
Mad said…
Lovely, Julie.

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