For Phoebe.

A Flower Given To My Daughter

Frail the white rose and frail are
Her hands that gave
Whose soul is sere and paler
Than time's wan wave.

Rosefrail and fair -- yet frailest
A wonder wild
In gentle eyes thou veilest,
My blueveined child.

James Joyce

I adopted you in 2016. You were in a bad state. I took you home, changed your soil, fed you water, and you napped for four days straight. I was nervous and worried and anxious at the thought of having to raise a child alone. What should I do with you?

I chose the name Phoebe as it means “bright and pure” in Greek. I thought it was appropriate. You brighten up my days.

You play and have fun just like any other kid. I take you down to the beach every morning. You sit there and watch the waves and the swans and the seagulls. I wonder what is going on in that little head of yours.

I told you off, once. Only once. You threw your food onto the floor and the stain still hasn’t come out of the carpet. I shouldn’t have shouted at you. It can be so frustrating. I never know if I’m reacting correctly, whether you understand me, do you even know I’m your mother?

I’m dreading the day you will ask me why our family is different. Why you have no father, why I am the way that I am and why you are the way that you are. That you will cross paths with mean spirited people in this world. That you will have to stand up for yourself and Not. Give. In.

I am so proud of what you’ve become. And I rejoice at the thought of what you are yet to accomplish. I know you will help people. I can feel it. You are kind, loving, generous; already so mature for your age. You make me want to be a better person. I look forward to the day you become a beautiful young woman. I hope you keep your joie de vivre. Your smile melts my heart.

I want to tell our story to the world. I’m sure we could teach a thing or two about acceptance and open-mindedness.

You met a friend at the park today. You giggled and conversed in your own language. He asked you, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ I told him you’re still too young to be able to answer that.