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      A Poem for You, My Daughter

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       This is a poem for you, my daughter
       whose renewed resolve for independence
       caught me up last night
       and I could not remember from there
       that I matter to you

       I lost sight of this
       drowning in your strong vocal objections
       your vehement denials
       your who-cares dismissals
       your wearying I-don't-knows

       Arguing with you
       furious, frustrated
       surprised that our foundation of
       love and life and years together
       seemed so quickly discarded

       I pushed back
       hard in my pain and confusion
       yelling at you in my despair
          -- then I noticed the glimmer
             fragile tears
             forming in your eyes

       immediately I realized there was so much
       moving inside you
       that I couldn't see it
       that I had assumed wasn't there
       and I was deeply moved
       sad that I had helped
       drive us to such a place
       in my need for reassurance
       from my limited perspective

      I dropped to my knees and
      drew you to me
      holding you, I silently promised
      that next time we enter this space
      I will come from my faith garden,
      the place inside me
      that feels the depth, strength,
      and endurance
      of our connection
        that knows the truth
                              of our love

      I promise,
      in the midst of this
      tremulous turmoil of teenhood
      and growing into parenthood
      to step into my faith garden
      to listen and speak from there

      This is for you, Jessica,
         my request for forgiveness
             my promise for our future



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