Thursday, 14 May 2015

Measure By Measure

Once I stood at the school door until out came a little girl carrying a painting in one hand and a lunchbox in the other. And she looked up at me and took my hand and we went home.


Except that it wasn't once, of course, it was every day for a year, until she decided that I should wait beside the car because she was big enough to walk over to me on her own. And that was the first measure. 

A year later the parking spaces were moved; but now she was big enough to appear round the corner and come down the path, out through the little gate all by herself: straight and tall as you like, with her ballerina feet turned out and her fleecy hat perched on the top of her head. That was the second measure.

Then she moved to Big School and though she wanted to walk all the way, I picked her up along the route, at the start at least, and in that compromise I found the third measure. For in Going Home Time a growing independence can be gauged, and accepted. For a little while her big brother drove her - and that was a milestone I remember measuring for myself, that was a big one, all those years ago - but now she walks again, all the way, to see and be seen (and I remember that one too), and to work those dancer's legs. One more year of walking and we'll have reached the end of the tape.

But I have a new one: a new way of watching how she grows. At her party last week I discovered the pleasure of taking a step backwards as she moved forwards. I stood behind her as she opened the door to find her friends waiting for her, and I looked over her shoulder at their welcoming faces, and that felt good. I hovered behind the shoulders of her friends too, watching them queue up to hug her and shout and shriek and that seemed right. I even took a photo of their backs in focus and of the hugging way in the background, because it was a good moment, to know that slipping away felt like the natural thing to do. As parties go, this one had a little of everything.

So I made a page.

Details, Details

What I was thinking as I cut and stuck:


1. Thinking about white space and picking out the colours from the photos, considering the Simple Stories I Am chipboard and

2. rejecting the heavier, darker letters, which are lovely and do pick out her leather jacket, but which draw too much emphasis to the bottom of the page and away from the main action.

3. The party banner was too hard to resist, plus it gives little flashes of extra colour which I then picked out with the MME enamel dots.

4. I took away the chipboard butterfly - too heavy again, and in the final version added a little wood veneer bird as a "flying" motif and some red at the bottom, for good cheer. The polka dot silhouette has been in my scraps basket for about two years. There is a large white "&" there too, which is a little hard to see in the picture. Finally I added some black ink drops because they always help to hold the eye on everything else on the page. Finished.

28 comments:

Susanne said...

What a sweet powerful post (and page) about those moments we moms all cherish. I'm so filled with emotion that I think I'll go peek in on my daughter just to see her sleeping and then head for some old photos of when she was little. Thanks for sharing.

Lizzy Hill said...

Oh yes! The everyday moments that change and alter as they grow. And you really don't miss until they're gone.....looove this page.....love the way you've taken the photos and I'm oh-so-glad you couldn't resist that banner. Perfect for a birthday page! Love the lightness of it all & the little touches of gold. MMMMmmmmmmm!!!!

Julie Kirk said...

Just lovely. Really moving. x

Miriam said...

This is really, really beautiful Sian, I can't believe your girl is 17...

Mary Lou said...

Roots & Wings without being a helicopter parent - oh the parental challenges & you seem to have mastered them.

Ruth said...

I teared up as I read this ... and I'm a few years behind you on the motherhood trail. You have captured those moments absolutely perfectly. I'm at the stage where he is happy to be walked to school (but only to the gate, no more popping into his classroom) and picked up again, but he doesn't want to hold my hand all the time any more. And, gulp, he's progressed through mummy and momma and I am now officially mum ...

Ali said...

What a gorgeous post!!! You made me cry with a post about your son, and youve done it again now!!! Just off to find some tissues... lol

scrappyjacky said...

And you ended up with the perfect page...as well as the perfect post.

Jennifer Shaw said...

What a beautiful page! I love what you journaled and this post well, it just touched my heart. It is bittersweet, this whole growing up thing. My eldest daughter is getting married next January and we have recently been chatting about babies. She asked me last week if it will feel weird when my baby has a baby. They grow up fast.

alexa said...

A very lovely post - and I hope that there is going to be somewhere you can tuck the text of your blog post in for her to read in years to come ...

Cheri said...

"the pleasure of taking a step backwards as she moved forward" - can I just say this phrase really resonated with me today? My girls are home but they haven't stayed put for even a few moments!

iwillbloom said...

Oh, Sian, your writing had me in tears.......haven't been able to read all of it and am typing through squidgy wet eyes.....will be back to read it all later...

Fiona@Staring at the Sea said...

I may have shed a few tears on reading this earlier. Have come back to leave my comment! Your girl is a year ahead of mine, but you've captured those feelings so perfectly.

Karen said...

I love your reflections, and story telling. And I appreciate reading about the constructing of the layout. I love the banner flying over the photos---just perfect for the occasion! See her now makes me realize how long we've been blogging "together." I feel like I've watched her grow up as well.

Maggie said...

A very emotional post. An important part of being a parent is preparing your child to be able to confidently step out into that big wide world. I can see from how you talk that you are making a wonderful job with your daughter.

jo burton said...

Lovely - I had tears in my eyes too - but maybe that was waving my 14 year old off on his first foreign school trip. We both had a wobble this morning before the bus departed.I do so hope he has the most amazing time - but I know what a home bird he is.

Chantal Vandenberg said...

This is a stunning layout!

Melissa said...

She is definitely growing up stage by stage. Such a lovely post as you continue to adjust to each new measure!

debs14 said...

Once again you have summed it up so beautifully and I found myself smiling and remembering each of those stages. I loved those chattering walks home after primary school, hearing about her day, leading to the independent times of walking home on her own with friends, watching anxiously from the kitchen window and only relaxing when she sauntered round the corner, safely home. Each stage brings its own feelings and you really have done a wonderful job in describing them.

Becky said...

Fantastic layout with brilliant journaling. And I agree with Alexa that you need to tuck the journaling from this blog post with the layout.

Louise said...

oh Sian, this is so familiar and as my youngest goes up to secondary school this September it'll all be change again. A super page.

Jo said...

A great page and a great post x

Linda said...

Just lovely! Both page and sentiment:) It is so satisifying seeing them grow up isn't it?

KraftyKaren said...

Really lovely page and I love seeing your process of making the page, of what you take off and what gets to stay.

Lisa said...

such a beautiful page Sian and I love that you shared some of the thoughts you had while you were creating it. Such a pleasure to drop by here and see your creations.

Maria Ontiveros said...

What a lovely story. Reminds me of the quote about how being a mother means living your life with your heart walking around outside your body.
Rinda

Missus Wookie said...

Lovely page, enjoyed seeing the development too. Tis amazing to see how fast they go away into that unknown land - Amadeus is off to the US for a year and Princess to Paris for a term... have to confess being grateful it is that way around!

Gail said...

What a great story of measuring the milestones as she has grown up.

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