Our Youngest Turns 25 (New Poem by Polly Castor)

Our Youngest Turns 25 (New Poem by Polly Castor)

Our Youngest is 25 poem

Our Youngest Turns 25

You are an independent free spirit,
interested in a balanced, multi-faceted life–
you are well on your way,
and we are so proud.

It is fun to watch you take the world on
your own terms, unimpressed by convention
while also reverting to ideas from the past.
You work on advanced string theory
while wearing a corset.
You sew on a non-electric
treadle sewing machine,
and do space-age math
on a Remarkable wireless interface.
You swaddle yourself in blankets
even on your YouTube channel videos
seen by 40,000 people and counting.
Then you camp in a skirt,
with a handmade pocket on the outside,
hike in gorgeously intricate necklaces,
and want to make your own stays.
You are fully financially self-sufficient,
enchanted by your budgeting process,
while also willing to continue
to creatively play,
delightfully frolicking,
immersed in imaginary realms
with fuzzily huggable friends.
You wrap your ever-elongating hair
around your head like a crown
and scale Mount Katahdin by yourself.

You are not afraid to be alone.
You take extra food to feed strangers
on that mountaintop
and greet others you meet
as your own heaven-sent angels.
You go to bat to help someone
successfully press harassment charges,
brooking no nonsense.
You wangle a huge couch
into a friend’s studio apartment,
fitting it in impossibly snug
like a finger in a glove.

You are chosen to be the head TA
for Physics 1; it is fun
to hear how satisfying
you find teaching,
having a natural affinity for it.
You are not in the PhD program
to claw your way to the top
and trample everyone down;
you are simply doing
what you find genuinely fascinating,
and following up on your curiosity,
just like you research
all sorts of other obscure stuff.
You enjoy a challenge,
but also like to loll around.
and read a 100 books a year
or write 40,000 words in one month.

You are dynamic–
everything from
meanderingly still,
with a beautiful, steaming
tea mug in hand,
watching for the sun
to come up over the hill
and make its way
into your nook of a morning,
or there you are
squealing with delight,
with your long digits cavorting,
pleased as punch over some
acquisition or statistic,
or there you are
quietly writing a fantasy novel
with the water lapping lakeside,
or there you are composing
original piano music,
lyrical and lovely
for your cousin’s wedding
or for your videos…

Then maybe you’re having
some deep conversation
about the afterlife
with someone who is searching,
surprised you actually
know what you think,
and it wasn’t because
you were told,
but of course
you figured it out
all on your own, just like
you read all sorts of recipes,
but then don’t consult any of them
and you make it your way,
or like you don’t use a pattern
when you sew a garment,
but sketch out a mock-up to scale,
tape it together tiny
to check the shape,
then expand it to size
for a perfect fit.

You can be both
deliberate and methodical
as well as approximate
and unrestrained.

You are friends with your parents
–oh, praise be!–
and hope to live close by.
I pray that works out.
After growing basil and arugula
and carrots on your balcony,
you can’t wait to have your own land.
You like your hands in the dirt.
You need a connection to place
and yearn to put down roots.
Your autonomous constitution likes
doing things from scratch.
You collect walnuts to make dye,
which is bottled in the back
of your refrigerator,
and you also make
your own soup stock,
which looks remarkably similar.

We adventure together,
you as quartermaster,
making focaccia miracles
in a dutch oven in the campfire.
We are graced with
the most amazing rainbows,
and our next escapade
will be to build
a pottery studio together.
We love being with you.
It is always worthwhile.
You are wise, intuitive,
and constantly discerning more.

I’m your self-appointed cheerleader
even though you don’t need one.
I’m your most stalwart,
indefatigable fan.
Yay! Go team!
See those pennants waving,
jumping up and down?

What you already understand
in your first quarter century
is downright astonishing.
It bodes incredibly well.
I’m so grateful.
No wonder when you came to be with us
you seemed like such an old soul.
It is a privilege to know you.
We look forward to seeing
everywhere you go from here.

Bless you, and onward!

by Polly Castor

(Check out our daughter’s YouTube channel here)

















I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.

1 Comment

  1. Dilys 2 years ago

    Happy Birthday child of the universe! Beautifully put, Polly, you have such a way with words. Bless you both x

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