Naming the Daughter

Naming the daughter
In the Ugandan tradition, children are named not just at birth, but throughout their lives according to their characteristics and significant events. This poem was written four years ago, and very little has changed.

My firstborn
She of deep, thoughtful eyes and a full head of thick dark hair.
She of the contagious giggle.
The one who climbed before she could walk.
The toddler who cried when she fell, but remained calm for the stitches, and
She who years later handled a fractured wrist without tears.
Ruffle socks and buckle shoes daughter
Wear a dress no matter what the weather daughter.
The child who listened to Beethoven and Raffi.
The child who learned to ride a bike in the Lambeau Field parking lot.
The young genius with crayons, markers, scissors, and glue.
So painfully shy at 6 she rarely spoke —
So social at 16 she rarely stopped.

The eldest. The big sister.
She of expressive eyes and long, thick hair.
The master of irony and sardonic humor.
She who doesn’t do morning.
A rainbow of Converse tennis shoes daughter.
Blue jeans, capris, and tank-tops daughter.
The teen who listens to Pachelbel, Frank Sinatra, and Queen.
The one who left the bike behind in favor of Dad’s silver Saturn.
The young genius with pencil and charcoal.
The young genius with a camera and Adobe Photo Shop.
Creator of a multitude of unique and colorful scrapbooks.

The one whose presence can brighten a room
Truly the joy of my life.