I picked her up

Oct 29

Maren came home from school upset and disappointed on Monday.  We had forgotten it was Pajama Day at her school.  For those of you who do not know: forgetting Pajama Day in third grade is an atrocity.  She felt about missing Pajama Day the way I felt when I got the news that my car is officially totaled.  Colossal bummer.  Mega disappointment.  So very irksome.

She was so sad, so I picked her up.  As I swung her gangly legs around me and felt her head on my shoulder and absorbed the weight of her my thoughts strayed away from calming pajama problems and wondered: how long has it been since I’ve picked this child up?  It doesn’t happen daily or even weekly as I once couldn’t imagine would ever change.  I swayed with her in my arms in the nostalgic way that mothers do: remembering the countless times I’ve done this before and realizing that we are about to end this phase.  My body remembers in visceral way the set of her in my arms; she preferred to be hooked in my left arm (and Greta preferred my right).  Her size ten frame is more than half my size and I think we probably look as I’ve long felt; I struggle to hold this much love in my heart… and now my arms too are bursting with her.  God bless us and the love strung between us.  I don’t remember the last carseat buckle or the last diaper change, and those weren’t rituals I held on to with sentiment.

She still sits on my lap and snuggles–it’s less “sits on my lap” though, and more just “sits on me”.  These days my favorite quiet moments with her are coloring together at a table or lying side-by-side in her bottom bunk bed as we talk and look up at the glow-in-the-dark stars we stuck up there.  She’s growing up and I’ll forever be looking for new ways to pick her up.

Lord, she. is. lovely.


  1. Julie Talford /

    I totally agree…she is lovely…and so like her mama.

  2. Beautiful. A powerful way to capture a life long transition from being carried to becoming the carrier. Today I would carry my mom instead of her carrying me. Such a raw display of human love to hold in your arms your loved ones. Thank you for this visual gift. My day is better because of it. Today would have been my mother-in-laws birthday. In your honor and her remembrance today I will hold my children all today and rock them for as long as I can. I’ve always wanted a way to remember her birthday in some special way. From today into forever my family will mark October 29th as “Carry your child day”. “Carrying” her boys in her arms physically and metaphorically was her favorite purpose.

    Thank you Jen for spreading your love and inspiration like you do!

  3. nalynne /

    i cried! what a way with words you have.

  4. Miss Annie /

    Yep, I’m crying again. My girls are 26 and 17 and we still have fleeting moments like that. I can’t scoop them up in quite the same way but there are times when life seems insurmountable and a girl just needs her mom! Thank God?!

  5. Still praying for 50!

  6. Beautiful…just beautiful. I sat here a while and reflected on all my “lasts” with our children ~ the last bath, the last bedtime story, the last boo-boo kissed ~ all the way to the last first day and last day of school, the last tuition check written, the last family meal before they left our house to start a life of their own. Jen, you make us think about things that we might not have taken the time to do without your poignant writing. Thank you. ♥p

  7. Kristin Russo /


  8. Darlene Cliff /

    I’m sure your girls feel and know the love you have for them. I feel it through your beautiful words.

  9. Barbara Marzullo /

    You are amazing Jen. You make me humble, proud, awed and amazed at your strengh and love for all. You are my inspiration, and in my prayers daily. Love.