I saw your daughter today, she was beautiful.
Have you seen her smile? I suppose not. At least not for years. Well, she has the most amazing smile. It's a gentle smile, a kindly smile her lips curve and then quiver. I've read that there is a genetic link in smiles. That families can be identified by their smiles. So if her smile is kind, yours must be too. And I wonder. Why couldn't yours have fallen on her a little more often.
I saw your daughter today, she was laughing.
Have you heard your daughter laugh? I suppose not. At least not for years. She laughs so quickly, so easily, with such a full heart. Her mind is quick and her laughter quicker. She sees humour in the world, she can bring light to a situation. She can laugh at herself, she can laugh at the absurd. And she has the dexterity of survivors. She can talk about family abandonment with one breath and be laughing in the next.
I saw your daughter today, she was thinking.
Have you seen your daughter puzzle through a difficult situation? I suppose not. At least not for years, perhaps never. Perhaps you never looked because you thought her disability made it unlikely that she would understand, that she would feel and that she would learn. But she understood what it meant when you said you didn't want her, that you didn't expect a kid with a disability, that she was a disappointment, an aberation, she understood that abandonment happens in stages and she knew one day you'd be gone. All of you gone. She feels, yes she does, and she felt that rejection painfully. She feels the closed door. She feels the silence. She feels the rejections. But she has learned to go on. She knows how to live without the love or approval of parents. She knows how to get on alone. She learns because she has to, she learns because she must, she learns because it's the secret to her survival.
I saw your daughter today, she was victorious.
Have you seen your daughter with her arms raised in victory? I suppose not. But you know what? She attributes her drive to you. She said that she was determined to do all the things that you said she couldn't and wouldn't do. She said that she was determined to rebel in the most powerful way she could rebel - by proving you wrong. You said she'd never go to school. She fought her way through college. You said she'd never live on her own. She fought her way to an apartment in town. You said she'd amount to nothing. She fought her way to a job of consequence. Her victories do not come at your expense, you never paid for them, but don't kid yourself. They cost. They truly cost.
I saw your daughter today, she was waiting.
I think for you. That smile she sees in the mirror, I think she'd like to see it on your face.