Mother-Daughter Conversations: When No is Yes.

“No, “ I said, to the little blond girl with a pouty red lip, my daughter.

She crossed her arms, back stiff, eyes averted.


I brushed her forearm with my fingertips, a wordless ‘ I love you.’

No doesn’t feel like love, when you’re five, when you’re forty-five,

No feels like deflating dreams, knocking the wind out of desire, landing you flat on your back.

But sometimes landing on your back, forced to look up at the stars in the dark, you begin to grasp No as the beginning of Yes.

Yes to More, not less–

More life, more joy

How do we begin to see the More in NO?

 At three, this same daughter, my Little E, opened my eyes to More.

She’d just thrown her new Barbie car hood-over-bumper, down the narrow stairs, landing the doll-driver in a heap on the stoop.

No!” I said. “That’s dangerous! The car might break mirrors-on-walls, break you, No!”

I handed E back the mangled pink car, and she perched, again, at the top of the stairs, the colors of her mind mulling over the No.

She leaned forward a bit, dangling the car over the cliff of the stair,

“E???” . . . .

“Don’t worry, Mommy,” said She. “I’m saying NO to myself.”

Saying ‘No’ to herself—at three? How can that be?

“Why?” said I.

She looked up at me, and shared the Yes she could see,

“I want to see your face smiling back at me.”And this is the Yes in the No—the face of our Heavenly Father delighting in the trust we show in the face of his No,

The way we soften and rest in the curve of his chest.

 May the Lord smile down on you
and show you his kindness.
 May the Lord answer your prayers
and give you peace.

Numbers 6: 25-26

One thought on “Mother-Daughter Conversations: When No is Yes.

  1. Shilo Cain says:

    Loved this…had it saved in my box to read, not sure how two and a half months passed by…Hope you are well!

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10



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