A Poem to Daughters on their 18th Birthday

Rita and Rose
Rita and Rose

On Friday, my daughters Rita and Rose turned 18. It was a joyous occasion. My husband Andy and I are now the parents of 3 adults! Our son is 20. Those who know us, know that we did not take the usual route to parenthood. Our first offspring were businesses, over which we slaved for years before having kids. In fact, we were married 18 years before our son was born. Being a mother has been the most rewarding experience of my life. Friday afternoon, as my daughters enjoyed cake and ice cream with a few of their friends in our backyard, I sat down to write them a little poem. Below is my attempt at expressing what being their and their brother’s mother has meant to me.

What it means to be a mother

Description of a mother,
Can someone even say?
For each child is unique,
Each mother has her way,

Of caring, calling, crowing,
Out the dangers and the joys,
Of buying, bending, mending,
A changing slate of toys.

Of reading, rhyming, singing,
To distract from toil and tears,
Of lifting, patting, primping,
And mitigating fears.

Of cleaning, cooking, looking,
For lost or mismatched socks,
Of chasing, racing, bracing,
Against unwanted shocks.

Of catching, heeding, hearing,
Hidden hopes and doubts,
Of gluing, cooing, coaxing,
Peels of glee from pouts.

I came into this lauded role,
By happenstance or luck,
There is no rhyme or reason,
For why good fortune struck.

I’m proud of who I’ve come to be,
A mother you will say.
I can not take the credit,
My kids made me this way.

For my darling daughters, on this treasured day of celebration.

Happy 18th!!!

Rose and Rita
Rose and Rita

About Carol A. Seidl

Serial software entrepreneur, writer, translator, and mother of 3. Avid follower of French media, culture, history, and language. Lover of books, travel, history, art, cooking, fitness, and nature. Cultivating connections with francophiles and francophones.


  1. Absolutely wonderful. Moms say “thank you”

  2. Quel merveilleux post! Je ne suis pas une mère, mais je pense que je comprends. Et je ne peux pas croire que Rita et Rose ont 18 ans!

  3. Congratulations to all the family. 18 is an important step.
    (May I be bold about your comment format?

  4. happy belated birthdays!!

  5. What beautiful daughters you have. They will treasure your poem!

  6. Thanks for participating in the Half and Half Challenge.

  7. Beautiful tribute to two beautiful daughters. Thanks for making my day, and theirs too~!

  8. Happy Birthday to your beautiful daughters,Carol. What I liked best in your poem is the line ‘Each mother has her way’. The rest ties up so beautifully to that line.

    • Thanks for your comment Smitha. I feel that the actions of mothers are too frequently scrutinized—far more than those of fathers. Yet, most mothers are devoted caretakers of their children. They know their kids better than anyone else and since no one can walk in another person’s shoes, we should stop judging mothers and instead have faith that they know what’s best for their children and accept that mothers, more than anyone else, will do the most to provide it. That said, kids have a way of becoming their own people, no matter what their parents would like them to become. The best a parent can do is provide a supportive, loving environment, along with opportunities to grow—then get out of the way.

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