It is Saturday. Around 4 p.m., I will go into my daughter's room and tell her that it's time to go to church. We have been doing this every Saturday for her entire life. I play the pipe organ, so she has been in church since before she could walk. I remember her sitting in her carrier as an infant, sucking on her pacifier, sleeping as the huge pipes above her bellowed out "How Great Thou Art." So the announcement that it's time to leave for church should come as no surprise.
Yet, recently, every time I alert her to our impending departure for church, my daughter flops backward on her bed as if I've just told her that Instagram or Snapchat has been outlawed. She stomps and sulks. Rarely does she argue, because she knows she stands no chance of winning the dispute. But she makes her displeasure very evident.
I miss the days when I could make her happy with a pacifier or clean diaper, when she sat in church and looked around like she could see choirs of angels floating above her. I know my daughter's main problem at the moment is that she's a teenager. Awkward and difficult years. The future scary. I try to keep that in mind when she's rolling her eyes or saying to me, "Okay, okay, okay, OKAY, I know, I know, I KNOW!!!!"
Saint Marty loves his daughter. He simply wishes that walking into her room wasn't like approaching a sleeping alligator sometimes.
Frequently Asked Questions: #9
by: Camille T. Dungy
Don't you think you should have another child?
This girl I have is hardtack and dried lime
and reminds me, every groggy morning,
what a miracle it must have been
when outfitters learned to stock ship holds
with that one long lasting fruit. How the sailors' tongues,
landing on its bitter brilliance, must have cursed
the curse of joy, as I did that morning the burst
of water brought my sweet girl into our lives.
But, already, she hates me sometimes.
Like I have sometimes hated my mother and she
must have sometimes hated her own.
After weeks at sea, the limes would desiccate and the meal
fill with worms. They would have eaten
anyway, the sailors, but taken no pleasure from anything.
Or taken no pleasure from anything but
the fact of their sustained lives. Which is to say it is all
I can do, most days, not to swallow
her up and curse her maker, I swear. Like I have not
sworn since the morning she was born.