In The Big Bed, Sleeping.



This is another excerpt from the book of letters I am writing to my daughter…


Dear Esther;


You are lying next to me in the big bed, sleeping. I am up late, getting stupid stuff done, winding down, and happy that you are next to me. I’m not sure what it is, but I love the sight of your little body in the big bed. You look so cozy, you look so small; you are at peace.


We have had some hard days lately, you and I, and perhaps you lying close to me reassures me that we are not yet approaching the end of our long goodbye, that our worries and our struggles and our battles are ephemeral; that we are still inseparable.


As parents do, I worry about losing you sometimes, and oh to my dismay there are so many ways of being lost. You are a sensitive girl and so different from your peers. There is an innocence about you that many of your more already-hardened contemporaries will not suffer too much longer. The world doesn’t like innocence. Oh we pretend to like it. We long for it in a wistful kind of way, hoping we might touch once more the sweet, forgotten someone we once were. But really, out in the world, we aspire to sarcasm and quick-witted repartee. We aspire to wisdom, and expertise. We aspire to the answers even before we’ve earned them by our stripes. We fear ignorance and incognizance. We fear being shamed for not knowing, and we fear that shame showing up in our eyes lest someone we want to love appears one day and decides to look deep. We hide behind cunning and detachment, self-sufficiency and cynicism. Oh goodness, the clever ways we hide. But you, my love, are as guileless as an afternoon in early June when school lets out for summer, bouncy and free. And when a person is as bouncy and as free as you are, it makes the not-free people nervous and uncomfortable in their hard, bound skin. So they start looking to find fault for their discomfort, and they look everywhere but in a mirror. They look in the boardroom and the classroom and the bedroom; at the dinner table and birthday parties and on playgrounds at recess. And when a friendly and disarming girl like you needs help with spelling, and you’re a little behind in math, and you’re the new girl at school, well… you are about as easy a target as they come. And I worry, with all that pixie dust in your eyes, you will believe that little shit Kate who says you’re stupid and no one likes you. And I worry that three years from now you will take the pretty pills she offers you in the bathroom after 3rd period just to prove to her and to yourself that you are likeable and cool, and that you “know better.” Oh, how I worry.


I woke up with a start at 1:56 this morning with an awful thought. Esther was not meant for this world… Esther was not meant for this world… Esther was not meant for this world… One day when you have kids of your own, you’ll know how terrifying such a thought is and you will badger God for some explanation. “What does that mean?” you’ll beg. “Does it mean something bad is coming? Is it literal? Figurative? Do You mean in the spiritual sense? What is it? What are you trying to tell me? Answer me please!” And then you’ll realize it is no premonition, it is no sign. It is one more imploring expression of hope from your own heart that you can keep your child safe and well and innocent. And there is no answer except to hold tight while you can, stay close while you can, and keep your arms open.


You are lying here next to me in the big bed, sleeping. You look so cozy, you look so small… And for a moment, I am at peace.

5 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Jen

    Kay, this is incredible. I had to go and give my kiddos a humongous cobra squeeze after reading this. The innocence of some kids is priceless and as a mother, it is scary to imagine the things they will visit. But, as good parents, we teach them our values, and our wishes and dreams and they will soar.

    August 18th, 2013

  2. Jessica Rehg Susnar

    BEAUTIFUL!!! So well you painted this picture of words!!! I am moved to tears!!!!

    You have the gift of your mother’s legacy.

    Clearly you will use it and honor her well.


    August 18th, 2013

  3. Linda Regan-Johnson

    Always, always love your posts my friend. I totally get what you are writing here….saw it with my own kids and every day here in the studio for 30 years now as the world tries to cram the individual into the cookie cutter mold. She will find her way. She will be an artist like you, my dear! xo

    August 19th, 2013

  4. Julie Dolcemaschio (@AuthorJulieD)

    Oh, Kay, this is gorgeous. These letters will be her lifeline some day, not just to you, but to LIFE.
    What a gift you are giving her, and us.

    Hugs, girl!

    August 29th, 2013

  5. Shirl

    It doesn’t change. The thoughts and feelings are there. Even as the years go on.

    August 18th, 2016

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