For my birthday present, my teenage daughter painted a portrait of her younger sister. Beyond the gesture of a gift, the painting pleased me immensely, as it captures my younger daughter’s level way of gazing at the world, a steadiness she exhibited since very early childhood.
This painting also illuminates my teenager, decidedly and unselfconsciously off-center, without glitz, deeply attuned to beauty. When I first became a mother, 17 years ago, I lived in a world of my own expectations – of what I wanted for my children. Oh naive woman, I think back to my younger self. Relax. Worry less. But, as a new mother, I had no idea I would someday receive this gift of windows into my daughters’ souls.
The truth is that life is hard and dangerous; that he who seeks his own happiness does not find it; that he who is weak must suffer; that he who demands love will be disappointed; that he who is greedy will not be fed; that he who seeks peace will find strife; that truth is only for the brave; that joy is only for him who does not fear to be alone; that life is only for the one who is not afraid to die.
– Joyce Cary