The Power of Whoa!

My daughter turns ten tomorrow. In her honor, I wrote this essay for my parenting newsletter. If you are a parent, or know one, you might want to have a read. Time flies when you’re young and fun…

‘Double Digits’
 by Christine Louise Hohlbaum

There is nothing like remembering your daughter’s tenth birthday to hurl you out of bed at the crack of dawn.

“I forgot to make her cake for school!” I chastised myself as I padded down the stairs. My husband, whose eyes hadn’t quite thought of opening yet, mumbled something about time and the power of slow and all the things I’d been telling him about how life can be beautiful when you slow down to smell the roses.

birthday cakeThat’s all fine and dandy, I thought, except when you’ve got a cake to make for your daughter’s first double-digit birthday.

Within three minutes, I had the thing baking in the oven. My daughter groggily entered the kitchen. Wiping the counter, I acted as if I had the whole thing planned.

“I’ll bring the cake during recess, okay Baby?” I smiled with a dash of uncertainty whether my über-smart daughter had noticed I nearly forgot about my promise. She protested about her nickname, something I simply couldn’t stop calling her despite her repeated warnings.

She silently ate her breakfast, then got ready for school. After saying good-bye to our early riser son, Jackson, I turned my attention back to my daughter who had managed to get dressed without her customary tween drama.

“I have something to show you…” I said mysteriously. Her eyes lit up in anticipation of an early birthday gift. I rummaged around a box in the basement, then came back up the stairs.

“Close your eyes,” I whispered. She held them tightly, then giggled with anticipation. I pressed the photo frame into her hands.

“This is who you were shortly after you came to me,” I said. Fighting back a tear, I bravely showed her a picture of her seven-month-old self hugging my head tightly during a day at the park in Boston. Her eyes widened. She had never seen the picture before.

She squeezed me more tightly than usual, then pranced out the door with an affectionate grin.

You will always be my Baby, I thought as I tearfully waved her adieu. She’s a double digit girl now, and I cannot help but feel the painful ebb of her essence’s departure from me as she flows into the self she will become.


  1. Gary Ellenbolt

    May 9, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    Happy Birthday, Hohlbaum kidlet! Enjoy the double digits, ’cause you’re going to have them a long time. With those awesome parents laying the groundwork and always in your corner, you got nothin’ to worry about!

    Or as Tom T. Hall put it…

    There is a miracle in you in who you are and what you do

    If anything at all in life is true there is a miracle in you

    You can be anything–a president of course

    A nurse or a fireman or someone important on a horse

    There’s adventure and a future bright and blue

    There is a miracle in you

    [ guitar + strings ]

    There is a magic in your smile, you’ll spend a season as a child

    Bless you–go and grow and see and do

    There is a miracle in you

    You can do anything you want from here to there

    Fly on a spaceship or maybe you can wrestle with a bear

    You’re what the world is coming to there is a miracle in you

    1. powerofslow

      May 9, 2009 at 6:48 pm

      Thank you, Gary! I will let her know about your birthday wishes. We survived nine kids and a bowling party for four hours. Yup, I’m wiped. But it was worth it!

  2. Willow Drinkwater

    May 16, 2009 at 11:45 am

    You are the only writer I know who can have me gasping for breath as I reel from tears of joy!

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