Rite of Passage

I painted my daughter's toenails for the first time this morning.

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It was one of those moments, those big, beautiful life moments where everything kind of overlaps and you realize how connected it all is. My mother and I had this same moment once and Vera will probably have this moment with her own daughter one day. All of it connected. Brought on by the simple and girlish act of painting toenails.

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I remember my mother's toenails. I remember the freckles on her arms and the ways in which her hands were different from mine. I remember the thickness of her hair and the way she used to purse her lips when she looked at herself in the mirror. I remember her throaty laugh and way she sounded when she called my name from the top of the stairs.

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I know that with each passing day I imprint myself even more onto my daughter. There are millions of ways to be a woman, but she will forever be influenced by the distinct way in which I've unfolded into my own femininity, just as my mother influenced me, and her mother her, and on and on.

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Mothers and daughters. And toenails.

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18 comments

18 Comments

  • Posted March 18, 2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Made me smile. =)

  • Posted March 18, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    So sweet!!
    And I can’t imagine my daughter ever sitting still long enough for such fun! 🙂 Someday, someday…

  • Posted March 18, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    I love this post!
    My daughter sits on her bed to paint her toenails, she didn’t get that level of coordination from me! haha When her daughter was nearly two, she climbed up onto the bed while her mom was painting her own toenails, wiggled close to her mom, and pointed her little toes to have hers painted. That was their first time! Shelby is seven now and, since that day, I’ve never seen my precious granddaughter without her cute little toes painted.

  • francesca
    Posted March 18, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    oh, my goodness…This was SO beautiful…I love her little hands flipping up as she stares at her toes. SO amazing….Love u guys. xo

  • Posted March 18, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Being a man, the toenail thing is a mystery to me. However I can appreciate the closeness and the imprint that our parents make on us. I wish all parents recognized the influence they have in life with their children particularly as the child is young and learning so much so quickly. Thanks for that special moment, though never experienced myself, nevertheless helps me remember similar times when my parents did meaningful things for me as a child that made me who I am.

  • Posted March 18, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Thanks! ME too.

  • Posted March 18, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I was really surprised that she sat still for it too!

  • Posted March 18, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Ha, thats so sweet!

  • Posted March 18, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Fran! Love you too!

  • Posted March 18, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    So glad you could appreciate the moment. Yes, there really are hundreds of profound parent-child moments that stay with us forever.

  • Lynne
    Posted March 18, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Such a sweet post. The first picture with her little hands over her mouth is adorable. As is the one of her checking out her little toes. I love how you take a seemingly everyday ritual and articulate it in such a lovely way. She is adorable. And, you seem like a mom who is very “present” with her daughter. She couldn’t ask for more!

  • Posted March 19, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Oh, thanks! Thats really nice to hear.

  • Posted March 19, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Alas…I have two grandsons with very cute unpainted toes. Fortunately for me they let me brush their very nice hair! I have enjoyed reading your blog and am very interested to read your book when it is published.

  • Posted March 19, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    I love this paragraph in particular: “I know that with each passing day I imprint myself even more onto my daughter. There are millions of ways to be a woman, but she will forever be influenced by the distinct way in which I’ve unfolded into my own femininity, just as my mother influenced me, and her mother her, and on and on.”
    It’s kinda humbling to think about all the parts of our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents etc that we carry around with us.
    So lovely to see V so excited about her pretty painted nails.

  • Posted March 20, 2011 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Yes, isnt it amazing to think about all the layers of people that distill into you?

  • Posted March 20, 2011 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much! And brushing nice hair can be just as good as painting little toenails. 🙂

  • Aisha
    Posted March 21, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    This is such a lovely post! She looks so excited! (:

  • Posted March 22, 2011 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    I know! Shes still excited about those toes.

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