Never Grow Up


19 years ago today I brought a little miracle into the world. It was a noisy miracle, with a thatch of dark hair and my heart exploded with love. Grace arrived and the pain departed. She’s been doing it ever since. Taking pain away. You can’t be around her and not feel better. She sparkles. She blooms. She smiles and your heart sings. Grace is full of grace.


She was a magical child, never sad, rarely crying. She loved everyone and everything. The word delight dances ‘round in my head as I write this. She was delighted by the simplest things, which made her delightful to be with. Grace would spend hours watching the goldfish swim around and around in the bowl, entranced with their fan-tails.


She was most definitely ‘mommy’s girl’. She loved to sit and watch me do my hair or make-up, and would frequently hand me the next thing I needed saying ‘here’s your lipstick, it’s a lovely pink’ or ‘now you need your perfume’…and when I finished she would say ‘you are so beautiful mommy’ and kiss me.


She was also helpful! So very helpful. Ryan loved to play with Lego, so Grace loved to clean it for him. As he was building she was taking each un-used piece and carefully wiping it down before he needed it. With a huge smile she would say ‘be clean’ and pridefully show us her VERY clean hands. We tease her about that now…if you could see the current state of her bedroom you’d think, like us, that she used up all her ‘clean’ around a decade ago.


Grace, as a toddler, was a multitasker. She sucked her thumb and rubbed the bridge of her nose with one hand, while with the other she stroked the nearest ear. If it was hers that was fine but what she really hoped for was someone else’s ear….even the dogs would do.




Your little hand’s wrapped around my finger

And it’s so quiet in the world tonight

Your little eyelids flutter cause you’re dreaming

So I tuck you in, turn on your favorite night light

To you everything’s funny, you got nothing to regret

I’d give all I have, honey

If you could stay like that


Oh darling, don’t you ever grow up

Don’t you ever grow up, just stay this little

Oh darling, don’t you ever grow up

Don’t you ever grow up, it could stay this simple

I won’t let nobody hurt you, won’t let no one break your heart

And no one will desert you

Just try to never grow up, never grow up




Little toddling feet turn into racing feet so fast. The girl who loved to watch me do my make-up started to borrow it instead…and my clothes, jewelry, GHD’s and perfume. The girl who thought I could do no wrong began to question almost everything. Did I have to make her do her homework? Did I have to giver her a curfew? Did I have to be so strict, so bossy, so embarrassing? It’s ok, I did the same with my mom and she did it with her mom…and one day Grace may have a daughter who asks those same questions of her. It’s a right of passage and like all passages it has a destination.



You’re in the car on the way to the movies

And you’re mortified your mom’s dropping you off

At 14 there’s just so much you can’t do

And you can’t wait to move out someday and call your own shots

But don’t make her drop you off around the block

Remember that she’s getting older too

And don’t lose the way that you dance around in your pj’s getting ready for school


Oh darling, don’t you ever grow up

Don’t you ever grow up, just stay this little

Oh darling, don’t you ever grow up

Don’t you ever grow up, it could stay this simple

No one’s ever burned you, nothing’s ever left you scarred

And even though you want to, just try to never grow up


And then 16 arrived and it was ok to like me again. Suddenly I changed from ‘just mom’ to mom and friend. Our relationship deepened, mutual respect calcified. We began to ask one another ‘does this dress look good on me?’ or ‘can I use your nail polish?’. Of all the wonderful things about having a daughter, being her friend is the most precious.



Take pictures in your mind of your childhood room

Memorize what it sounded like when your dad gets home

Remember the footsteps, remember the words said

And all your little brother’s favorite songs

I just realized everything I have is someday gonna be gone



The year Grace turned 16 is also the year she discovered a true love for photography. She began to take pictures of everything. I was full of admiration for the girl who worked every shift she could get her hands on, cleaned the caravan, babysat and saved each hard-earned penny so she could buy her own camera. Full of admiration for the girl who, never having shown much interest in art, worked all summer to fill a portfolio with enough work to take A level art even though she hadn’t done it at GCSE level. Who went on to not only complete the 2 year course, but to complete it with double distinction. Who is leaving in 3 weeks to begin studying photography at university. Who has been given a scholarship to do it.


In 3 weeks my little miracle is leaving to start her new life. I’m crying as I type those words. My heart is all confused. I’m proud, so proud of her. I’m heartbroken, so heartbroken at the thought of our house without her in it. I’m happy and sad and everything in between. I wonder, will she be safe? Will she be lonely? Will she miss me? Will she not miss me? Will she eat properly? Will she remember the things we’ve taught her? Will she be ok?



So here I am in my new apartment

In a big city, they just dropped me off

It’s so much colder that I thought it would be

So I tuck myself in and turn my night light on



If I did my job well, my love will travel with her every single day of her life. She will be strong yet soft. Bold but wise. Eager yet cautious, certain but questing. She will define herself yet remember her roots. She will laugh and cry and love and learn. She will look for rainbows. She will comfort others. She will value her heart.


And she will remember to call home, regularly.



“A daughter is a mother’s gender partner, her closest ally in the family confederacy, an extension of her self. And mothers are their daughters’ role model, their biological and emotional road map, the arbiter of all their relationships.” 

~ Victoria Secunda



Happy Birthday Gracie. I love you bigger than the biggest thing x


7 thoughts

  1. She’s a sweetheart ….. Been a long while since she was bouncing around DV ?
    Happy Birthday Grace !
    Be good, Be Wise , stay special !

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