And You Are The Girl With Small Hands And Big Eyes

December 16, 2013


Every time I read the poem ‘B’ by Sarah Key, I think of Elfie.

If I should have a daughter, instead of “Mom,” she’s going to call me, “Point B.” Because that way she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me.

It is beautiful, the most beautiful piece of writing I have ever read. And not just because the similes and metaphors tumble together in a symphony like I have never read before, so much that I find myself going back, re-reading sentences and enjoying the way they sound. The poem speaks to me. Forget Ted Hughes, Wordsworth, John Keats… it is musical, magical.


And she’s going to learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up just so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.

When I look at Elfie’s face, trapped in the limbo between babyhood and childhood, I see the whole world. Here is my little girl, my little girl who I grew from scratch, waiting to be taught. She is waiting for me to mould her into the person she will be forever. She is full to the brim of innocence, wonder, delight and excitement. I wish I could stop time, capture it. Make it last longer.


There is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by band-aids or poetry, so the first time she realizes that Wonder Woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself. Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal. Believe me, I’ve tried.

I can’t describe the feeling that is knowing she will be hurt. Knowing she has been hurt and I couldn’t do anything about it. This little person, when she is hurting I want to dive in, remove every single bad thought and feeling and feel it myself. But I can’t, and that is one of the very worst things about being a mother.


There’ll be days like this,” my mama said. When you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises. When you step out of the phone booth and try to fly, and the very people you want to save are the ones standing on your cape. 

How do I even go about telling my little girl there are bad things in the world? Admitting this means I am admitting they are real, the baddies are real and we can’t stop them from hurting us.


Your voice is small, but don’t ever stop singing. And when they finally hand you heartache, when they slip war and hatred under your door and offer you handouts on street corners of cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother.

Elfie, you are the girl with the small hands and the big eyes and every day I will kiss those hands and you will know I am always here to look after you.

And don’t you EVER apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining.

I wrote more thoughts on this poem over here. Another huge thank-you to Charlotte for introducing me to the most beautiful piece of literature I’ve ever read.

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  • Reply Nikki Thomas December 16, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Wow what a beautiful post. She really is so beautiful and I have no doubt that you will do the best job possible to protect her, but I know what you mean about wanting to slowo down time, I often feel like that when I look at my children.

  • Reply Beauty button December 16, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    Oh. My. Word. I’ve just spent the last five minutes bawling my eyes out – what a beautiful poem (I followed the link). I didn’t think I was too emotional just now but maybe I am! thank you for sharing ..

  • Reply Stacey Corrin December 17, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    This is so very beautiful and so very true. It’s rare that I come across a piece of poetry that really resonates so thank you very much for sharing this.

  • Reply Katie @mummydaddyme December 17, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    This post gave me goosebumps. I find the stage we are in now such a surreal one. She has grown so tall recently, speaks so incredibly well and is a little girl now. Yet still occasionally is a baby. I wish I could keep her innocent forever. I am going to go and find the poem, it sounds beautiful. Just like this post.x

  • Reply Mammasaurus December 17, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    How lovely Alice, I must admit I let out a little ‘awwww’ more than once reading that x

  • Reply Donna @ Little Lilypad Co December 17, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    What a beautiful poem and a beautiful little girl.
    Sometimes I wish we could freeze time to keep them young, innocent and always be able to protect them xx

  • Reply Ali at : agreenerlifeforus.com December 17, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    oh goodness, I’m welling up, and such beautiful photos too xx

  • Reply Liz Burton December 17, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    I read about this poem over on the other link but it’s really come to life here with your beautiful photos of your gorgeous girl.

  • Reply steph December 17, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    I think this is my most favourite post of yours. After an exhausting day at work these pictures and words did something quite wonderful to my sludgy head. I’m off to cuddle E. Thank you for this xx

  • Reply Amanda December 18, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Oh Alice that made me cry, how beautiful!

  • Reply PhotoPuddle December 18, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Enjoy this special time with your daughter because once she starts school that’s when she really will start her journey I into the big bad world. My daughter started in September and I am now learning that she will get hurt and people will upset her. Nothing serious has happened but every now and then she tell me something that happened that day that makes me want to scoop her up and hold her so tight. For example the day her “boyfriend” was chosen to be Prince Charming in the school play but she wasn’t the princess. She had to sit and watch him dancing with another girl. Nothing serious obviously for a five year old but I had a flash of the situations she will be faced in years to come. I hope she will always come to me. I hope we will stay the best friends we always have been.

  • Reply Donna December 18, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    What a beautiful little girl, and a lovely post. This is something she will read when she’s older, and realise how wonderful her mum is.

  • Reply clare December 18, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    This is just SO beautiful.

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