Poem of the Week: “To a Daughter Leaving Home” by Linda Pastan

Early yesterday morning, Jeffrey and I woke in dark to take our oldest, our sweet daughter to the airport. We put her on a plane to fly across the country for a prestigious and exciting summer school program being held at Princeton.

As I watched her bobbed hair and her teal cardigan and her white flip-flops move away from us, through the gate, down the concourse, I thought of this poem. I thought of all the little leavings my daughter has done, will continue to do over the next few years until she’s ready to head out our door and into the world on her own. I’m not sure I can handle it, the idea of her leaving for good, but like Linda Pastan, I have pictures of her flying away from me, again and again, stored away in my head and heart. And pictures of her beautiful smile and her comings-home. I keep reminding myself that parenting is the act of learning to let go, that the best homes are made with leaving in mind, that her independence is a sign that I’m doing my job.

To A Daughter Leaving Home

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

by Linda Pastan

Source: http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/to-a-daughter-leaving-home/


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