'A clean slate, with your own face on'

posted on: Monday, 28 November 2011

Another little milestone in the whirl of day-to-day parenting; Boo started studying an author whose work I have studied. I am conscious as she gets older that she will step the same path as I did; the urge I feel to arm her with wisdom as she takes those steps, can be overwhelming. I have to remind myself that she is her own person; she is not another me.

Boo came home from school with a Sylvia Plath poem...rather advanced for 10 years of age I thought, but it was lovely; the poem 'You're' is about motherhood. An ode to her unborn child. However troubled Plath's life was, she glimpsed genius in her work. I wrote my college dissertation on Sylvia Plath so it resonates with me and reading this poem with my daughter, I was struck again what a full circle life can be. The final line refers to her baby as being '...a clean slate, with you own face on.' That is what Boo is to me. We look, people tell me, uncannily similar (I suspect she is prettier than I ever was; but that could be a mother's love making me biased?)

I remembered, as we talked about the poem and all of its references, when she was born, her little face, was hers and mine and his. That strange mingling of us three, so evident in a firstborn child. The hours I spent just looking at her, fascinated by her. And even now, years later, I can still get that flash of memory of her as a baby, still there in her ever-changing, maturing face. A heady combination of nostalgia and sentimentality mixed with her future potential. This motherhood; it still amazes me every day.

...love this...a silver cross pram!


  1. Such a beautiful post. You have put those maternal feelings into words so very well, and I agree it is right to resist the urge to mould the views of our children to exactly fit ours. I have found that hard, I sort of want them to love and appreciate the things I do, beauty in nature for example- have to dig quite deep for that in my teenage sons right now! - but as you say, they are their own people, and I do respect that and love the suprises that this throws up, like being brilliant at maths and being able to hold a tune - whaaaaat??!! Motherhood, amazing, you are so right.

  2. Lou, this is such a lovely post. I have been missing my mum so incredibly much recently. i'm also so incredibly excited for when i become a mum myself haha. a bit of a long way off but george and i are already thinking up baby names haha xxx

  3. Wow, that takes me back to school. I studied that poem in the sixth form.
    It's funny, I never really see myself in daughter. I think she's far too beautiful to look like me. But sometimes when I look in the mirror I see a glimpse of her in me. To me that's even more powerful because even though I'm her mother in just three years she's made me the person I am today.

  4. What a lovely post, they grow up so fast! I love the words, hers and mine and his...

    Adorable pram photo.

  5. Wow, this is a really lovely post. I've loved it all :)

  6. beautiful post!

    Plath for a ten-year old, that's an interesting choice. And this post reminds me to see the film with Gwyneth Paltrow.

  7. Great post! There's nothing quite like motherhood and only a mother can explain how truly wonderful it is.

  8. So happy I chose now to return to blogland! Beautiful post. My beautiful Olivia turns 23 in a couple of weeks and boy those early days of staring and falling madly in love seem like both yesterday and a million years ago at the same time.
    Life is precious .


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