Girl With The Summertime Smile

I wrote this poem on the morning of my daughter’s 21st birthday.  The words came to me in a moment of emotion, as the house lay still and quiet before everybody else woke up.  It was my way of expressing my joy and love for her and for the precious memories of  the years shared and the memories of her as a little girl.

Yet, this joy is tinged with the pain I carry within at the burden she carries daily as she  struggles with living with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Simply put, as her mum, I want only to carry these burdens for her.

This then, is my poem for my daughter.

Girl with the Summertime Smile

You came to me, wrapped up in love, on a too-hot summer’s day

As you took in every life-drop falling from the sky,

Then  seeking  quiet refuge in the still of your shut-tight eyes.

Newborn Baby Daughter 16 August 1992 (c) copyright Sherri Matthews

Oh Summer girl of mine, with your sunflower-smile

and your cotton-dress skip;

Making beds for caterpillars and tiny pools for frogs,

Singing to the moon on a twinkle-star night,

Legs dangling from your swing as we laughed and held on tight!

Scan5

Oh did that light from heaven get lost in the dark heart?

A memory of a safe, strong day

Brings a strong-comfort hope, not just for then but now.

Fight I will, this will not, ever, tear us apart.

Rockstar Daughter (c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Sweet woman-girl you are

As I offer  you my hand should you take it, oh there you are!

It is always as it should be

In the near…in the chaos…in the far.

My daughter at Sea World  (c) copyright Sherri Matthews

You are my daughter, you see, so here we are, you and me.

Swing free under that night-sky, sing your song of  let-me-be

And I will ease your sorrow, light a way along your path.

So you keep your hope alive, and I will journey with you for awhile,

As you are here today, your day, and I remember

My little girl with the summer-time smile.

My Daughter with Cat Cake (c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Poem and all photographs copyright (c) Sherri Matthews August 2013

14 Responses to Girl With The Summertime Smile

  1. Lorraine Marie Reguly says:

    This is a beautiful poem. My eyes are moist and I had shivers go through me. Don’t you just love it when that happens?

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    • Sherri says:

      Wow, thank you so much Lorraine, it really moves me to know that you were so touched by this poem for my daughter.

      Like

      • Lorraine Marie Reguly says:

        That’s the thing with poetry – you never know how others are going to react to it. I was afraid of sharing my poetry, too, and still am, sometimes. However, personal poems are the best because they are heartfelt. That’s my opinion, anyway!

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  2. Imelda says:

    This is so sweet. What a lovely gift you gave your daughter. 🙂

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  3. She is indeed a beautiful joy that brings all the wonderful blessing and gift of Summertime. Our children brings Sunshine, laughter and meaning to our lives beyond words can fill express. A blessed day to you & your family.

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    • Sherri says:

      Oh how lovely, thank you so much for reading this poem IT. The joy and sunshine that our children bring to our lives is immeasurable and each day we have with them is a blessing to hold onto for all its worth. I am very touched that you took the time to share your thoughts here. Blessings to you and your lovely family too 🙂

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  4. Now THAT made me cry! That is so beautiful. She is beautiful, too, Sherri! 🙂

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  5. Sherri says:

    Oh thank you Patsy, so much, but I’m sorry it made you cry, although I’m glad that it moved you so much, if you see what I mean 😉 My daughter is my heart… 🙂

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  6. Julia Lund says:

    Thank you for sharing your poem about your daughter. I love the photo links. My daughter is on another continent at the moment, doing what God has placed on her heart to work with vulnerable children in a Cape Town township. The place our children hold in our hearts doesn’t grow thin with distance. In my current role, I work in a mainstream school supporting young people with extra needs, and I have to say that my greatest joys come from spending time with the young people with Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s a privilege to learn how differently the world can look as we learn to see through their eyes…

    I also read your About Me page. Perhaps it’s the bumpiest voyages that make writers, or perhaps it’s the writer’s curiosity and tenacity that keep us afloat. Whatever the truth, the writer of these words knew a thing or two, I think!

    “When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
    It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh yes, one of my favourite hymns, ‘It is well, it is well, with my soul”. This is ‘old-time religion’ as shared during a time when I lived with my two young boys and my baby daughter in a rural community in California, population 500. No matter what we have to go through, and let’s face it, we were never promised a rose garden, we know that ultimately we have the strength from heaven above to see us through. The Lord’s mercies are indeed new every morning.

      My daughter is indeed a wonderful, talented and beautiful young woman and I am privileged to be her mum, as I am of my two grown boys/men. Yet, her struggles with the condition make life a constant challenge for her. She didn’t have the kind of support you provide for those with special needs at school as she wasn’t diagnosed until she was 18. Asperger’s Syndrome in females is famously ‘invisible’ but not to the girl/woman experiencing it. As my daughter would say, when told she is ‘special’, she is wounded and hurt as she would give anything not to have Asperger’s. With it comes a great deal of hidden rage, depression, shutdowns and meltdowns. Her struggles with the social anxiety that constricts her life to the point of self-imposed isolation colour her life and that of her family.

      Yet, she is my girl, my heart and together we will win through. I know that one day my little girl will have her day.

      Thank you so much for your visit and for taking the time to read my poem and reply with your own thoughts.

      Like

      • Julia Lund says:

        Your daughter is in good hands with you as her mum. I don’t know why Asperger’s isn’t picked up so often in girls as boys; I do know that often it is diagnosed once young women have been down the mental health route and after years of inappropriate labelling at school (‘difficult’, ‘challenging’, ‘manipulative’ and so the list goes on). Truth be told, we in society need to learn how to bend more in order to embrace those of us who don’t fit the moulds others would like us to fit. I wish you all so much good and pray you will find oases of calm and peace as you love each other through the journey you tread together. Wishing you blessings

        Julia

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  7. Sherri says:

    Dear Julia, thank you so much for your wonderfully kind, understanding and insightful words. I very much appreciate it. As soon as my daughter was diagnosed with ASD she was referred to the ‘mental health route’ and I wonder if this has done more harm than good. My instinct as her mum told me this was wrong for her and now that she has been referred back to the Asperger team with specifically trained professionals, she is at last able to feel somebody can really help her, at least so far as ‘understand’ her.
    We certainly do need to embrace those who ‘think outside the box’. The problem is, and I think that perhaps why girls find it that much harder, that within their own peer groups they feel so incredibly isolated (for instance, girls with ASD are often tomboys and not in the slightest bit interested in fashion, gossip or ‘girly’ things) and so as the years go by this sense of isolation creates a vicious and ever-decreasing cycle of anxiety, depression and anger, inner-rage even. This, of course, leads to physical problems too. So very, very difficult.
    Still, you obviously have a very strong grasp of all this and I thank you again for your prayers and very kind wishes, which mean so very much. God bless you.

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