My daughter knows how to live. She absorbs the things she loves with reckless abandon. When she reads, she devours. When she colors, her scribbles are large and extravagant, bold on the page describing seasons, holidays, and moods. When she plays, she creates magical worlds pieced together with unlikely materials, full of characters who endure drama, intrigue, and betrayal. She throws her head back in glee and bares her teeth in rage. When she watches a show on a silent plane with her headphones in, she can startle people in her row with her exuberant proclamations of joy, an exasperated sigh, or an exclamation of horror. 

She just learned she loves to play frisbee and she played it at the beach for hours. Her 4-foot-tall seven-year-old self playing against her six-foot-four dad. She leapt and caught the flying orange disc then turned and launched it back into the air. She taught my almost-70-year-old Indian mother to throw a frisbee. Then last night, a mistaken throw landed her precious frisbee in the ocean and the rip currents were strong. It was gone in minutes. Her devastation was overwhelming and rippled like electricity. She said she’d never eat again, never go to the beach, never come back to Florida. She cried.

The next day, I drew a picture of her slender physique having just launched the orange frisbee into the air. It was not perfect; a simple sketch. She saw it, looked at me, and said, I can’t believe you did that. It’s amazing. Her eyes filled with wonder and admiration. No darling, I should have said, you are amazing with your passion and zest for life and for the emotions you feel with all of your heart. 

About the author:

Ghazala Datoo O’Keefe is an immigrant, physician, and mother. She lives in Atlanta, GA, with her husband and twin girls. She is currently working on a chapbook of micro-prose focusing on identity and belonging.

Feature image by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash