Wakes with laughter falling from her peony printed little mouth,
stories on her lips of a night newly conquered,
fairies still dancing about her head,
sleep rubbing away at her eyes.
She is joy embodied. Here beside me–
joy wearing freckled, speckled, paint splattered skin.
Joy with teeth that don’t touch.
Joy whose eyes I could swim laps in–
pumping arms and legs of joy.
She is mine, I used to believe.
But everyday she shows me–
she belongs to herself.
I am just her guide.
I am just her mother.
And what a joy that is.