Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I wrote reminders on my daughter's hand yesterday: I love her, she sparkles, is a star, and to me, a rainbow

My daughter’s first day of Kindergarten was yesterday.  She was scared the night before.  It’s her second school in four months.  Both in a new country.  Since infancy, she has been in seven different schools; she’s only five.

Change isn’t new for the little girl.  I carried her inside me across continents; she was ‘Made in Kenya' and born in America. Before she was born, she had been in three countries. My daughter started ‘school’ (daycare) at the tender age of four months.  Even then, I was told she was "intense.”  Intense infant.  Intense child.  

I tell others, “she’s either intensely happy, or intensely not.”  There’s not a lot of middle ground with her.   

She was born with her eyes wide open: this is truth; not a hyperbole.  Actually, I think she was intense before she arrived into the bright hospital light. 

Every Friday morning, when pregnant, I drove to the hospital for non-stress test monitoring of my daughter.  They needed to measure her movements.  She liked to sleep in the mornings.  I had to wake her up.  So, after chai and a snicker doodle, the sugar rush stirred her. Jumps. Hiccups.  With a smile, I’d lie down on the hospital bed and sing to her. Just to keep her up. I wanted her results to be good, but that meant kicking her out of her routine.  Even then, I knew her.  I knew how to wake her up. And boy, would she wake.

She still has a sweet tooth for “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” chai, and snicker doodles.  She rolls her eyes back in her head, coos, This is heaven.” She feels: intensely, strongly. It’s no surprise she thinks she’s electric. She’s all spark. A live wire

My daughter shocks me. She’s brave; knows herself.  She speaks freely, openly (on her own terms only) about her feelings. “I felt so, so sad. And so, so lonely. And then, suddenly, I was happy!” she says about her first day of school yesterday. When my daughter speaks, her muscles, her tendons seem to light, to move, with each emotion. Her face, so expressive.  She contorts. 

Sometimes I think she can’t possibly hold all of what’s going on inside of her. It’s like she’ll burst. It scares me. I don’t understand how she can let such fire burn through her, unabashedly.  I’ve never been so free.  I’ve never lived so loud. I feel like a whisper next to her.

I love her. I navigate with her. She teaches me. I’m sure all mothers say this about their children.

Still, this intense little soul – whose soul is not little at all – smiled deeply at yesterday’s reminder “you’re star dust. You sparkle. You’re special. I love you,” while hugging her in front of the Kindergarten classroom.  Something shifted.  Her eyes flickered. A gulp.  Her back more resolute. A concerted stare. Quiet and contemplative, as though summoning her bravery.  She was ready to go.  “You’re OK now?”  I asked.  A small, yet firm, nod.  I put her down. Kissed her. 

She walked through the door, holding another girl’s hand, right on into the next chapter of her life: real school; big girl school; big girl life in a big, big, world; all within a new, spinning, green country, that’s rewriting its own story, just as my daughter’s story unravels in the palm of my hand. 


  1. I loved reading this! I wish I would just take the time to write things more often. It usually goes through my head when I'm about to fall asleep and is completely forgotten by morning...good job, Becky, your such a good Mommy! :)

  2. gail patricia willmottAugust 9, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    Love this Becky - As you so brilliantly write only a Mother feels what her daughter is feeling <3

  3. Awesome Becky... :) I realized I can easily print these of and give them to mom too.. That would help her feel in touch.. Thanks for taking the time to do this... and most especially I appreciate your writing skill and gifts..

    Love ya...


  4. This was a really beautiful post. I could feel your pride and both of your emotions on her big first day at big girl school. Miss you all. Kids talk about all 3 of you so frequently. Love you guys!

  5. Beautiful, Becky. You are a thoughtful, talented writer who touches hearts.

  6. Thanks Lisa, Gail, Nikki, Dad, and Pat. I really appreciate all your comments.

    Lisa - start writing! :-) It's not always easy to find the time, is it? Sometimes, having a little notebook handy (maybe on your bedside table?) can help. Then you could just jot down notes/ideas as they come, then write them up later.

    Gail - Thank you!

    Dad - thanks a lot. It would be really cool if you could print them off for Grandma.

    Nikki - Thank you! We miss you a lot, too.

    Pat - aww. Thanks! :-)


  7. Hi Becky in Burma! In my attempts to mentally prepare for our family's move to Yangon next month, I happened upon your lovely blog. I love your writing and your description of your daughter!! Sounds a lot like my oldest. Her intense soul has been reverberating through our universe since she was in utero. It would be nice for the two of them to meet and perhaps play one day while we ponder who is the better poet; Rumi or Hafiz? :-)

  8. Hi Amanda,
    Thanks for stopping by the blog and leaving a comment. Also, welcome to Yangon (next month). Where will you be moving here from and how old are your children? I'm sure that if your oldest is a similar age to my daughter (five), they might get on well and it would be fun for them to play.

    Have you heard about the google e-group for expats in Yangon? It's called YEC (Yangon Expat Connection). It's probably *the* source of information for expats living here and super helpful. Also, once arriving, I'd suggest buying an expat guide book called "The Golden Guide," which is published here. You can buy it at Monument Bookstore and also Sharky's (a cool, western restaurant here). It's an invaluable resource.

    If you have any questions about living here, then feel free to email me: I haven't been here too long (only since April), but am happy to help in any way I can.

    I LOVE Rumi and Hafiz! :-)

    Hope to see you once you arrive. :)

  9. Beautiful! Miss you guys so much! Loved the details of Freya's first day! ~ Kina

  10. This made me tear up a are such an amazing mom, Becky!
    (now I'm off to look at photo albums of my energetic, talkative, lovely daughter and my serious, silly, sweet son!)

    1. :-)
      Thanks, Kristy! I feel happy the post made you want to feel close to, and sentimental about, your children. They grow so fast. I hope you enjoyed looking at those photo albums!

  11. Becky, this was such a beautiful post about your lovely daughter. What an incredible and lovely young girl that she is. She has the best mom to help her navigate through life. I feel that she's light years ahead of all of us. Blessings to both of you. xo


Messages that are negative or mean or hurtful or political will be deleted; so play nice. This is meant to be a happy place. :-)