It’s been three years since my daughter left for college, and a few weeks since she returned from a semester in Spain. A bit of honesty… it’s been a challenge. I mean, how do you deal with a girl who returns with disdain for America (I get it), no longer wants to complete her major (she’ll be a senior), and whose heart remains in another country (yep, a Spanish boy).
But then I remembered the wishes I had for her on her graduation day. They came through the stunning picture book Blueberry Girl written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Charles Vess. I’m sharing some of the text here, but you NEED to see this book, especially if you have a girl in your life!
“Ladies of light and ladies of darkness and ladies of never-you-mind,
This is a prayer for a blueberry girl. First may you ladies be kind.
Keep her from spindles and sleeps at sixteen,
Nightmares at three or bad husbands at thirty,
These will not trouble her eyes.
Dull days at forty, false friends at fifteen-
Let her have brave days and truth,
Let her go places that we’ve never been,
trust and delight in her youth…”
“Grant her your clearness of sight…
Grant her the wisdom to choose her path right,
free from unkindness and fear.
Let her tell stories and dance in the rain,
somersault, tumble and run,
Her joys must be high as her sorrows are deep.
Let her grow like a weed in the sun….
…Help her to help herself, help her to stand, help her to lose and to find.
Teach her we’re only as big as our dreams.
Show her that fortune is blind.
Truth is a thing she must find for herself,
precious and rare as a pearl.
Giver her all these and a little bit more:
Gifts for a blueberry girl.”
We spent the weekend apart, and it was healthy for both of us. She returned with a smile on her face and I greeted her with nothing but gratitude for her beautiful spirit. I need to be patient and understanding of what must be a terribly difficult transition. I know this.
Yesterday was the summer solstice AND a full strawberry moon! She didn’t know that I had howling at the moon (with Chloe) as part of my summer manifesto and that I was waiting up for her. She came running up the outside stairs yelling “Mom! Come on!”
We howled, we laughed, we continued a tradition and made a new memory.
I think the “ladies of grace and ladies of favor and ladies of merciful night” have granted my prayer for my blueberry girl.