SOLC 2019 Day 21 and PF: Jabberwocky


March 2019 SOLC–Day 21
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.

This post is a dual post for the Slice of Life challenge and the Poetry Friday Roundup. This week’s Roundup is hosted by Rebecca Herzog at Sloth Reads. Although I hadn’t been aware that she’d invited participants to celebrate National Goof Off Day this week, serendipity was at hand. What could be more wonderfully fun and goofy than “Jabberwocky”, the word romping poem central to my post?
Image result for jabberwocky original illustration

Illustration by John Tenniel

by Lewis Carroll 
“’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe. ”

Last night we drove a few towns north to watch our youngest daughter sing with the University of Maine Singers during their spring concert tour. The Singers always end their concerts with a rousing rendition of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky, accompanying the lyrics with overblown theatrics. They cavort on stage, miming snapping jaws, dramatically pulling vorpal swords, etc.

“…’Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!’

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought-
So rested he by the Tumtum tree..”

Last night when they reached that last line, chorus members mocked fatigue. Some yawned, others slumped against their singing companions. My daughter, Lydia, took her two fists and rubbed them against her eyes, ducking her head down…and just like that I hurtled back through the years.

In an instant my 21 year old daughter was transformed so vividly in my mind to her long-ago sleepy toddler self. It was like a physical blow. A jolt. I was momentarily lifted from the present and thrust into the past, swamped with a sensation of nostalgia and loss. I remembered her heavy weight in my arms as I’d carry her up to bed, her head resting on my shoulder. I’d always softly sing to her “Good night, sweet heart…” as I climbed the stairs, and even though she was almost asleep, her small hand always patted my back, soothingly. It was the sweetest thing…

And then, just like that, I was back in the present, in the auditorium, listening to Lydia and the UMaine Singers finish up their romping version of Jabberwocky. I watched them burble, galumph and chortle…feeling a bit disoriented…memories of the past reconnecting to the reality of this present.

After the performance I hugged Lydia extra tight.

My baby girl.



25 thoughts on “SOLC 2019 Day 21 and PF: Jabberwocky

  1. margaretsmn says:

    It’s amazing when a seemingly random moment can create such a vivid memory. Is she still so sweet and sensitive? My guess is yes!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Right there with you. I’ve had moments like this…so bitter sweet. I love the moments so much. I wish I could stay in them a bit longer. But, my grownup kid is too good to not enjoy now. Its a funny thing these years of mothering grownups. Jabberwocky IS perfect for goofing around…how thoughtful of the singers to perform for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so sweet, Molly. Isn’t it amazing that we remember their “heavy weight” so vividly? My baby turns 34(!) tomorrow, which somehow passed in the blink of an eye.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. kd0602 says:

    Our babies really never stop being out babies–regardless of age. Which is not to say that we don’t appreciate their grown up selves. It’s pretty special that we can still recognize their unique baby selves in who they have become today. Such a special memory–thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. lindabaie says:

    There are those moments even when the children are old & parents themselves that one sees who they were. Your description showed it so well. Telling anyone doesn’t help. They don’t see it, but mothers (probably fathers) do. Lovely, Molly.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rebecca Herzog says:

    I have a nine and two year old. They are both growing so fast that sometimes I’m afraid that I won’t remember them this little as they get older. Thank you for sharing this sweet moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Tabatha says:

    Wow, your description is so vivid! Thanks for sharing this poem, song, and memory.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ramona says:

    Love this slice and the peek into the Jabberwocky performance. I’ve never heard it as a choral piece. And now I worry about how fast my grandsons are growing up. Time marches on, but memories are soothing and soul filling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I was going to share a link to the choral version, but the only one I could find by the UMaine Singers was about 11 years old. It’s such fun to hear the musical version!


  9. maryleehahn says:

    What a moment! You took me, the reader, by as much surprise as you must have been taken. Such sweetness in this memory!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. haitiruth says:

    So sweet! Your description brought a tear to my eye. Ruth,

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Once your baby, always your baby! I know I’m still my mother’s baby, even now at the ripe old age of 35, she still calls me her little girl. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a great post, Molly. But not fair that your reminiscence prompted by goofy poem should bring tears to my eyes! My son, asked to memorize a poem at some point in middle school, chose Jabberwocky. To this day, that poem brings him comfort, entertainment, and pride.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Wonderful post Molly, I’ve always loved the “Jabberwocky!” What a tender moment to have with your daughter her patting you on the back in half sleep, sounds like a poem may be brewing there… The performance sounds terrific too, and then your flood of memories with your daughter–thanks for sharing all!

    Liked by 1 person

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