Befriend your body. Rewrite the story of your life.

To Leonie: A Love Letter on Your Fifth Birthday

by | Mar 5, 2021 | Journal | 0 comments

My Sweet Bear,

You first came to me on a beam of moonlight that streamed through June’s open window. It was a time of mad love in my home, when your papa and I were dripping with so much of the stuff that we could think of nothing else but to create.

No — you first came to me in a vision on an acupuncturist’s table three years before that. Me lying behind the curtains that darkened the afternoon. I was so lost I didn’t have the words to explain where I’d come from. I was looking for you. Needles fanned out over the right meridians and a half hour of stillness was all I needed to see you. Clarity is all I remember.


No — you first came to me from a tarot deck I bought in 2001. The Princess of Swords. Fierce innocence in a sky of swirling blue. I knew it was you by the way you gazed back at me. “Mama,” you said. “I’m your girl.”

And still I wasn’t ready when it was your time. I stuttered my way through 52 hours of labor, unsure of the words to describe what you wanted of me. It was a new language, the tongue of a woman I have always hidden from. The one who always finds me.

I thank you for making it impossible for me to hide from her. For ruining all the best reasons to run. Instead, you call me to bring out my best self and sit beside you to build an entire world out of a 10-inch block tower.

This woman I hid from for so long, the one who no longer lurks in the shadows, she is not so terrifying after all. She’s also not as impressive as I had imagined either. She wipes butts and folds tiny socks. She cooks your meals and cleans the dishes while dancing to a rhythm you taught her. And she even lets you force her wild body to lie next to yours at 7:30 each night, because she’s the one who lets you know that you are safe enough to fall asleep.


This woman is like you. Our four eyes wander toward the impossible why. Our hearts refuse to be crushed by the weight of the answer, always returning with the resilience of a spring flower. Step on us, pick us, bury us with snow — we will always come back as a reminder that winter is temporary.

Despite how much you admire my petals, I think I’ve given you enough by now to figure out that I’m no superhero. Certainly I have shown you far too much of my weighty, “ENOUGH.” It’s a voice that makes even me stop cold. But then I am also the one who comes to you — a five-year-old girl with messy pigtails — to apologize when I’ve gone too far. I’m not asking for your forgiveness; I seek nothing from you that I can’t give to myself. Maybe that’s why you’ll be the last one rooting me on.

I’ll be your greatest fan too. I’ll be forever searching for my own blue eyes (or are they Papa’s?) in the crowds of your future admirers. The world will soon see the silver moonlight that came through my bedroom window so many Junes ago. I will let you hold court with them — I won’t be jealous for even a moment when I am no longer your first word every morning. I will stand in peace outside your circle then, knowing that I was the first one to feel your heartbeat. That will be my crown, one I will wear proudly for the rest of my life as your mama.

Leonie and me snowstorm.jpg

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The Bhagavad Gita 2:40