Twas Brillig and the Slithy Toves

Does a Wonderland Alice mood ever strike you? Yes? Well. Twas Brillig and The Slithy Toves, I just have to say. Whatever that means.

red boots

My eldest daughter trips in and out of our home at random, rare intervals.

She appears from nowhere with a jingle of her car keys/charms/trinkets, usually looking pleased with herself and somewhat expectant (“Here I am! I drove all by myself in my own little car to get here! Aren’t you so tickled to see me?”). I have no doubt that for her, it’s a wondrous thing to have launched (for me, a little otherworldly…but I am very pleased with her too, it turns out).

Which she’s done, officially (launched).  Out of our home (at first, in painful fits and starts), and now, even out of town. She just found an apartment in Salt Lake, a job. A plan for a career, a boyfriend. She has developed her own shopping lists, her own opinions about the economy of cheese. And it was only a couple of years ago that she had a curfew and chores assigned by her parents.

Of course she looks pleased with herself.

A few days ago I was weeding and puppy sitting in the backyard

(it’s at least as tricky as it sounds) when suddenly, there she was, with her very nice boyfriend in tow. Jingle jingle. I was taken with the difference in their appearance. He: coolly conservative; hands in pockets. College Boy on his day off from work (khaki shorts, perfect fitting T). She: fervent, whimsical, and somewhat burl-&-Tim Burton-esque (corset top, fuzzy gray leopard tuke, short shorts, slivered leggings, tall red boots).

(Tangent: Turns out she’d dropped by to see if we were planning anything special for her birthday.  Nothing like gentle reminders…)

I was slow to learn to allow this daughter the freedom to dress herself. My excuse: she is my oldest. There’s a gigantic learning curve with first children (partly due to inexperience; after all, this is the first, and partly due to the fact that many parents begin with brains still slightly adolescent).  But eventually, oh so gradually, I clumsily embraced the concept of childhood autonomy (another excuse: her love affair with hats began at around 3 years of age, when anything would do for a hat if she could get it on her head—including her underwear.)

Once A Pond A Time (my second daughter’s younger version of a story’s beginning),

I unpacked a box of clothes that my first and second daughters had  outgrown several years before.  I was looking for hand-me-downs for the third sister I think. Anyway, as I opened the box, I rediscovered a Wonderland wrapped in the not so gently worn treasures inside (Sizes 5 to 7). The clothes were clean of course, but somehow, boxed as they had been, the scent of them filled me with sharp longing. I could smell my daughters, at an age that was no longer theirs…or mine.  Though I was driven and hectic at the unboxing moment (we were in the throes of house building, board by board), I lingered with almost-grief over each piece as I took it out of the box, remembering. What I loved about the too-small-now clothes wasn’t how they looked…it was that they’d covered my girls’ bodies as they explored, climbed, giggled, snuggled.  Rocked the swingset from the topmost height til it tumbled down, pretending to be monkeys—instead of swinging sedately.  Made dolls out of iris leaves (oh they were smart), carried baby grasshoppers inside green apricots, like small change in a coin purse (Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimbol in the wabe).  I missed those little bodies, that relatively safe time (amazingly, the swingset toppled in slow motion, Michaelyn riding it all the way down).

And I understood better that of all the things we want our kids to know, the one that matters far and away beyond the others: that they are loved.

dark whimsyeating pie in a tuke

buglet and boyfriend

arranging Dr. Who's bowtiehow to wear dr. who's bowtiehelping with a bowtietwas brillig, and the slithy toves

Dr. Who Bowtie

Sure do love you, Buglet (and the mome raths outgrabe).



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  • Leah July 3, 2013, 11:44 am

    “. . . many parents begin with brains still slightly adolescent. . .” Is that true? Are there many? I am not the only one to find sometime after 39 or 40 that I am waking from a dream ~ wondering where I am? How I got there? And what’s to become of me now? Having teens and infant-adults has jolted me into a new perception of self, of youth . . . and the passage of time. It’s not the first jolt ~ I think I recall a similar one sometime just prior to the birth of our 4th ~ and I’m sure it’s not the last, but this post reminds me how sweet the dream has been and how much, surely, there is to look forward to.

    P.S. I love your sweet, spritely girl too!!

    • Lynaea July 8, 2013, 3:33 pm

      Thank you Leah. Nice to know you’ve had those moments too. Yes, I think some of the best is yet to come.
      Love you.

  • Andie July 2, 2013, 4:07 pm

    beautiful young lady! so artistic and creative. i sure do love her too, and that poem (but her, more than the poem). We sang it in high school… did you know it was a song too!

  • Paula July 2, 2013, 9:28 am

    Such a cute outfit she has!
    and Lewis must have been trippin when he wrote…..

    • Lynaea July 8, 2013, 3:09 pm

      Well, it’s been rumored (about Lewis). Thanks for visiting, Paula.

  • Joann @ Woman in Real Life July 1, 2013, 12:45 pm

    They are adorable, and I love her fun sense of style!
    Joann @ Woman in Real Life recently posted…Weekend UpdateMy Profile

    • Lynaea July 1, 2013, 3:17 pm

      Thank you, I agree. I am always a little awed and at least a bit entertained when she shows up. And her boyfriend really seems to be gentlemanlike.

  • Tabetha June 30, 2013, 5:20 pm

    Oh she is lovely!!! And so wonderful to see she has your creative spirit.
    Tabetha recently posted…A Word from the Girl Next DoorMy Profile

    • Lynaea July 1, 2013, 3:16 pm

      She is lovely for sure. And she does have a creative spirit.