Posted by: alegra22 | December 28, 2011


I find Zaviera crouched by the front gate. At her feet fallen petals and leaves in various states of decay exhale the scent of spring turning into summer, of days of rain followed by short, intense periods of sun. Sun that strips back fabric, sunblock, and keeps pushing on until it moves through our skeletons and down into the earth.

Zaviera looks up at me, a delicate animal, fragile-boned but fierce.

“Hi Mommy,” she says, her voice vulnerable and surprised. She thought she was alone, in the clear. She didn’t expect to be caught scampering after her desire.

“What are you doing, sweetheart?” Her hands are clutched to her heart, guarding something beneath her shirt.

Her shoulders round against my gaze, she looks at me through eyelashes, shadows, and a naked honesty that fills the space between us like sunlight without the demand of heat.
“You won’t tell daddy?”
I squat down.
“No, sweetheart. You can show me.”

But I already know what it is. She reaches down into the sports-bra top that she insists on wearing at all times, just like her mommy. And just like her mommy, she has a way of storing her valuables in this handy garment. She pulls out a dadu, a pacifier, warm from her skin. I imagine I can feel the hummingbird flight of her heart trapped in the plastic of it. The want that she can’t help wanting even though we tell her, “You are almost five, you’ll need to stop using your dadus.”

She watches me, waiting.
“Did you feel like you needed your dadu?”
She nods.”Can I please have it? Just for a little bit?”

It is a quiet request, a moment of trust that stretches between us. A net that will receive our weight if we fall into it. If we jump, it will fling us high into the sky where we can look down at all that we are, all that we have been, all that we might become.

“Yes, but take it into your bedroom.”
She thanks me in a tangle of limbs and skin-scent.

I’m left with the intimacy of this moment where we both balanced between being witnessed and loved or witnessed and shamed. That place where our desire can uncrouch from protecting its fierce hunger, to step back and look at what it is we want so fiercely.

Often, it is not the thing we thought.

Sometimes it is just to be seen and trusted that we will not be needing a dadu forever, but for now, we are not ready to let go.



  1. This one really made me cry…

  2. Beautiful, and true.

  3. Sometimes there is no response, just that space and silence that can only be felt in person, in the stillness of warm afternoons and brisk nights – that silence that is charged with love and empathy and hope and thoughts of lyrics of some long forgotten song neither remember all the words to, but the sentiment is there.

  4. I don’t know how you do Alegra, but you always make me cry. Hard. This one had me by the heart and I was helpless to its power. You have an amazing way of capturing intimacy and moments… It’s incredible. ❤

  5. it just moves me

  6. Very sweet and beautiful! You will always remember the beauty in the days and moments of your children as they grow because of how you so eloquently articulate these moments and experiences. I can already smell the fresh spring air and feel the sun’s warmth. In actuality, your writing holds more memory and truth than any photograph could ever capture. It will be a gift for both you and the kids some day when time passes and you can read back on these.

  7. Having spent so much time with your whanau over the past few months I can vividly picture Zaviera sitting there looking all innocent and guilty at the same time! She has the great cheekiness about her that I love. This is something you and her can be proud of. People, as they get older forget about this sense of ‘fun-loving-freedom’. I am a true representation of this feeling. As I hope that Zaviera will be too. With parents like you and Dan I know she will be Captain Awesome.

    Because of your insightfulness and your passion for being a great mum ALL your children will be Awesomes too. And if they aren’t they’ll be super duper cool anyway…via osmosis from their uncle D! Mamaku Crew Represent.

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