To My Daughter, On the Terrible Twos

As it may probably be ascertained by the title of this post, my daughter, Clara, has entered the joyous phase known to many as “the terrible twos.”

It isn’t fun.

This week in particular has been rough. Nothing we say or do makes her happy. If she doesn’t get what she wants, there is no redemption or consolation in anything else Kara and I might offer. It has been very frustrating.

At the end of the day, though, I still love her. At the end of the day, she still makes me fiercely, gloriously proud.

She is the flesh of my flesh, the spirit of my spirit, the first fruit of my marriage. What can she do that would change that?

Then, I am brought back to the idea that everything we experience in life is a microcosm of our Father’s love for us. Knowing how I feel about my daughter at the end of her worst days reassures me that, even at my lowest point, I was still fearfully and wonderfully made by my Father. At the worst of times, He still loves me dearly… so, so dearly.

I wrote this poem about that.

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To My Daughter, On the Terrible Twos

You entered the world,
your cry was luminous,
dissolving the murk of my days.

Your shining eyes,
the lantern of your laughter,
came to guide me in dusks.

When you learned to walk,
your bright hair became a candle
flickering around the halls of our home.

You continue to grow,
the radiance of your will is bright;
even now, in a shimmering tantrum,
your fists and feet send sparks as they strike the ground,
scattering light into every corner of the room.

Michael Hylton, St. Louis, 2011

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