ella frances, age 4

IMG_5921Ella is a highly emotional and volatile little person! Can hold her own – strong-willed and passionate. Creative – can draw and draw for hours. Loves singing and dancing and being silly. Excels at printing – she will read early. Knows who she likes and who she doesn’t.  

Big screamer, very dramatic, particularly when her brother bugs her. Very warm and affectionate. Does not run with the crowd or a best friend – goes about her business, doing what she wants to do. Likes to follow me around, ‘hanging out with you mama.’ A beautiful girl.


I found this little blurb about Ella written in a journal that I kept when I was a single mom in 2001.  That’s when I started writing in earnest, to try to make sense of my own messed-up world.  I am so grateful that I wrote these words down, to remember what my little girl was like at this point in time.


Fourteen years later, I’m stunned how similar Ella is now to when she was four.  I wonder if our values and character have settled into place by this young age.

Now Ella is 18, and although she is reserved, she is still (quietly) passionate.  She was an introvert when she was four, and she’s still one now.  I think she’s very creative – she doesn’t believe so, but she can out-doodle anybody, and has an eye for art and beautiful things.  She loves all sorts of music – pop, hip hop, blue grass, and Johnny Cash. She did used to follow me around when she was little, and that was when we started baking together.  Now she works as a baker’s assistant at a local bakery.  She’s oblivious to peer pressure, and has always gone her own way – choosing to take a year off before school, finding a little garage suite to move into with her boyfriend, adopting a sweet little kitten.  I’d add two other words to describe her now:  she’s resilient, and she’s very funny, too – these are qualities that have evolved as she’s grown up.

Here’s yet another good reason to keep writing and telling your stories:  to remember. Zooming back in time has reminded me of how that sweet little girl has blossomed into a beautiful young lady.

Today, one of Ella’s co-workers gave her a handmade painting that says:  In a gentle way, you can change the world.  That’s the perfect sentiment for my girl fourteen years ago at age 4, and now at age 18.  She’s gentle, but she’s also a force – watch out world, here she comes.  xo.


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