Recently, I made old-fashioned silhouettes of our daughters. I had no idea when I began, what an act of love cutting out their profiles would be for me. When I finished, I was surprised to find the front of my shirt covered with the tiniest slivers of paper I had trimmed off. I knew in that very moment, that those miniscule scraps meant something profound. I immediately started typing my feelings. Below are my thoughts that poured out, in that moment.
Cutting my daughters’ silhouettes is an act of love. I ever so gently trim around my oldest's golden hair. My precision scissors skim the silky surface which my hands have smoothed so many times. With each push of the tiny scissors, I glide past the golden highlights I know she admires. I round over the front of her forehead. The sweet spot my lips kiss when she’s feverish. The gentle spot my thumb brushes round and round as my lips whisper, “Shh, shh, it will be all right.” As my scissors make their way down her profile, they caress my sweet baby’s eyelids, and nose, and little rose mouth. I don’t dare stop or pause, for fear of cutting too far. Yet, I don’t want to cut too little, either.
When I’m done, and gingerly place the completed silhouette on the table, I look down and find the tiniest slivers of papers—the miniature scraps--dotting a path all down my shirt. Those tiny pieces of my daughter, that weren’t really pieces of her at all. Cut away, snipped off with tenderness and love. Smoothed over and rounded out. And now, only these little pieces remain behind. They show me what I need to see about motherhood. On the days that I am tired, and frustrated, and hollow, I need to remember these tiny pieces of paper. These pieces that were, but then were not, part of my daughter. This is my job as a mother. To continue smoothing and working and loving. Only really seeing the small path in front of my scissors. Slowly processing, so that the beautiful profile will emerge in the end. And I will see that all the exhausted nights and headache mornings, the repeated reminders (naggings), and emotional confrontations will pay off. After the very last little scrap falls away, and our daughters’ exquisite silhouettes emerge, I will know, that it was worth it all!
And, then, I shall take a very long nap.
(Want to see the completed silhouettes?)
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