A Mother's Love and a Daughter's Growth Essay

Amy Tan Overcoming Faulty Relationships and Self Identity Essay

The main reason for the huge crack in the mother-daughter relationship is due to the joint culture that they share and their conflicting opinions on their joint cultures (Parini 294). Communication problems with their mothers, in Tan’s writings, are due to the daughters of Chinese mothers wanting to be more American than Chinese (Tan The Opposite of Fate…. 22). Mothers who have immigrated to America face language barriers and feel the pressure of their new culture (Wiener 22). To a Chinese American daughter, not only does the Chinese mother humiliate the daughter, but traditions that tie back to their past are also humiliating to them (Parini 292). After the death of her father, Tan’s relationship with her mother decreased and caused her to become more rebellious to her mother’s good intentions (Angel 26-27).

The Queen Of Mold By Ruth Reichl

First of all, the mother’s love in Reichl story becomes complex when the guest come over to the house and she cooks them moldy food, Ruth Reichl becomes the guest guardian who protects them from being killed. The mother shows her lover through cooking, she can whip up anything from her week old leftovers. Her mother is not a shame of what she cooks

Theme Of Sexism In The Joy Luck Club

Lindo was arranged to marry Tyan-yu. While the marriage was short-lived, Tyan-yu constantly lied to Lindo, and Tyan-yu’s mother treated Lindo like an object to be bartered between families. Lindo experiences depression being trapped in this lifestyle, so she decides to flee to America in order to escape it. When reminiscing on her marriage Lindo says, “I had no choice, now or later. That was how backward families in the country were. We were always the last to give up stupid old-fashioned customs” (Tan ). Similar to the mother in the beginning, Tan creates appeal to pathos, forcing the reader to sympathize with Lindo. The reader’s sympathy to Lindo allows Tan to expand on the larger issue of sexism, creating an emotional and educational tone in order to coax the reader into, again, understanding the true scale of sexism. Tan drilling this larger idea of sexism into readers changes the reader’s perspective. With new perspective, readers notice the need for change to establish equality between both sexes. Therefore, Tan is using her writing as a tool for a deeper subject: exciting change within the world, and thus, exemplifying Jong’s words.

The Lover Book vs. Film

The resentment within the young girl’s family is essential to the novel because one can understand the young girl better as she makes her decision.

Point of View in Amy Tan’s Short Story, Two Kinds Essay

In her short story "Two Kinds," Amy Tan utilizes the daughter's point of view to share a mother's attempts to control her daughter's hopes and dreams, providing a further understanding of how their relationship sours. The daughter has grown into a young woman and is telling the story of her coming of age in a family that had emigrated from China. In particular, she tells that her mother's attempted parental guidance was dominated by foolish hopes and dreams. This double perspective allows both the naivety of a young girl trying to identify herself and the hindsight and judgment of a mature woman.

Essay on Beloved Motherhood

Baby suggs and Sethe are both the Mother figues in beloved and despite their suffering from slavery they both cared for their children greatly. Baby Suggs and Sethe connected through Motherhood to develop a close bond. They shared the love for their children a bond that all mothers can relate with. Sethe has four children that she loves very much but she could not deal with her past of sweet home. Sethe could not bare for that to happen to her children so she had to save them from the schoolteacher and slavery by trying to kill them. She kills one child whom is referred to as beloved for what is written on her tomb stone, but fails to kill howard buglar, and Denver. Sethe motherly natural instincts caused her

A Critique Of The Feminine Position Of Antebellum Society

Throughout the novel, it is Old Mrs. Hall who represents (with a cold bitter insistence) the traditional representations of the wife and mother. While Ruth’s marriage was in no way a radical departure from tradition, it does not seem to have been based (entirely) on an old paradigm that was rapidly becoming antiquated in the wake of modernity. To

Essay about The Color of Water

* This chapter was written in Italics because it was written from a different point of view which was Ruth’s perspective who talks about her past as a child.

Song Of Solomon Character Analysis

Ruth seems to be subjected to a lack of experience that has led to emotional hardships. She is financially well off, but this may have added to the sorrow that she has felt. This is because she is more accustomed to the life of having resources and does not understand what it is like to come up in the world and the struggles that come with this. These struggles can make a person stronger emotionally because through those experiences it is possible to learn how to deal with a variety of problems in life. Ruth’s privilege caused her to have a major lack of exposure to the world. This made it hard for her to come up with solutions to her problems. She fails to have the knowledge from travels and the individuality to deal with many problems which has hindered her personal growth and emotional stability. She relied a great deal on her father for happiness which

Joy Luck Club Essay

The article, the book, and I, talk about how daughters feel their mothers don’t know them and that they don’t know their mothers. They talk about how a daughter listens to her mother, but there is a certain point in a young woman 's mind where they decide they want to see and explore new ideas. In conclusion, they all talk about the point in a daughter 's life where she and her mother don’t get along very well and the daughter tries to take charge of her life.

The Relationship Between a Mother and Daughter in Two Kinds by Amy Tan

"Two Kinds" by Amy Tan is about the intricacies and complexities in the relationship between a mother and daughter. Throughout the story, the mother imposes upon her daughter, Jing Mei, her hopes and dreams for her. Jing Mei chooses not what her mother wants of her but only what she wants for herself. She states, "For, unlike my mother, I did not believe I could be anything I wanted to be. I could be only me" (Tan 1). Thus this "battle of wills" between mother and daughter sets the conflict of the story.

Contrasting Cultures in Tan's Mother Tongue and Nguyen's The Happy Days Syndrome

As an adult, Tan understands that her mother’s English is the language of intimacy. She now understands that her “mother’s expressive command belies how much she actually understands” Her mother reads “The Wall street Journal” and converses with their stockbroker on matters Tan doesn’t comprehend. It becomes evident that her initial

Case of Ruth

Ruth is especially attentive to how she views herself, including aspects that are evident and those that are implicit and unclear but forming. Several components of Ruth’s self-concepts emerge from her autobiography. In her own words, Ruth identifies herself as the “good wife” and the “good mother” that her husband expects from her. Thus,

Transformation from Innocence to Knowledge in Mother Comes of Age by Driss Chraibi

The mother begins to rebel against tradition by taking an active role in educating and freeing herself. Through her radio, telephone and trips out with her sons she develops her own opinions about the world, the war, and the domination and seclusion of woman. She loses her innocence as a result to her new knowledge and experience.

Essay on Appreciating Mom

At age three I said “I love you mommy.” At age seven I said, “Mom, stop kissing my cheek!” At age fifteen I say, “You’re so annoying – I can’t wait to move out!” At age eighteen, I’ll be saying “I miss home.” At age twenty-seven I’ll be saying “I miss my mom.” At age forty I’ll be saying “I miss you so much; I wish you didn’t have to go.” My mom is the sun to my shine.

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Daughter-Father Relationship And Issues

Father daughter healthy boundaries, daughter-mother relationships in the poem to a girl venturing, father-daughter relationships in the poem daddy, describe my daughter essay, reasons why asians prefer to have sons than daughters, top similar topics.

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essay about loving daughter

Essay On Mother Daughter Relationship

The relationship between a mother and daughter is a deep-rooted and intense bond. While the loving bond is often a source of positivity and support, it can also be a source of frustration and ambivalence (Birditt, 2009). It is very common for an unequal distribution of power often exists in a mother-daughter relationship. A mother demands the respect and obedience of a daughter, while most children wish to gain positive feedback from a parent . Nevertheless, as a child matures they often begin to reject the high power distance that exists between a mother and daughter. As a child I spent the majority of time with my mother, she was a loyal homeschool teacher, soccer coach, and friend. I happily embraced her demands and actively sought out her acceptance. My positive perception of my mother motivated me to behave as a polite and well-mannered daughter. I completely accepted the imbalance of power that existed between us. However, my perception changed as my mother became less involved in my life. As I became more independent and responsible, I …show more content…

In this essay, the author

My mother moved to Virginia and I struggled with true feelings of loneliness and despair after my parents separated. According to a 2010 family journal, "Of all familial relationships, the mother–daughter one is most likely to remain important for both parties, even when major life changes occur, such as the daughter’s marriage or mother’s illness." I lacked the guidance and support of that I needed from my mother after she moved away. My siblings and I spent time with my Mother once a week on Thursday evenings. She would often arrive late and carelessly, which I took very personally. I became hesitant in following my Mother 's advice or listening to her requests. The lack of trust I developed created a substantial amount of tension between my mother and I. I felt left behind and forgotten, while my mother felt hurt and

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Mother-Daughter Relationships: Personal Essays

The Mother-Daughter Series is a collection of personal essays by women writers, reflecting on their relationships with their mothers.

1950s mother and daughter

The writers participating in this exercise range in age from thirty-something to sixty-something. Some have daughters (and even granddaughters) of their own, some have sons, and others do not have children.

My thanks to the many fine writers contributing to this ongoing collection of essays. Their honesty and insights are greatly appreciated.


[…] the same sex. I was pleased about both facts, happy to have given birth to boys, especially with a difficult mother-daughter relationship of my […]

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Father-Daughter Relationship Essay

essay about loving daughter

Importance Of Father Daughter Relationship

purpose of this paper is to show the importance of a father and daughter relationship. These relationships make a big impact on girls lives. They could be the difference of a girl being treated badly by men her whole life or her fearing men. These father daughter relationships not only shape how a man should be but it also helps the daughters love themselves more. Father daughter relationships help build up their daughter’s confidence and other aspects of her life. Father daughter relationships are valuable. Father Daughter Relationships The Effects of Father Daughter Bonding “I am the mountain behind my daughter and I stand so firmly for her. But time will break down the stone eventually. I hope she will be a pine in front of the mountain,…

Father Daughter Relationship Essay

The most important relationships you can have are with your family. Whether that be adopted family, paternal family, or the loved ones that are considered family to those without one. The relationship most intriguing to me is between father and daughter in particular. When thinking about this subject my ultimate question would be, does a father’s involvement in a daughter’s life affect their relationships with others? Is a female socially more guarded due to not being raised by both parents,…

Father And Daughter Relationship In The Glass Castle

The relationship between father and daughter, under the right circumstances, should be cherished for eternity. In the memoir The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls recounts the relationships between Rex Walls, her father, and all of his daughters. For the reason that the story is told through the eyes of Jeannette the father-daughter relationship focused on the most is that of herself and her father. Jeannette and her siblings, Lori, Brian and Maureen, had an unorthodox upbringing due to their…

My Father-Daughter Relationship Essay: Like Father Like Daughter

Like Father Like Daughter There are different kinds of relationships that you could have in your life. There is the friend relationship, where you do everything together, laugh or cry together. Then there is the brother/sister relationship where you either try to kill each other or you are all over each other. Also, there is the marital relationship which is unconditional. The mother/daughter relationship is soft and gentle. The mother nurtures the daughter and teaches her to be a very…

College Admissions Essay: Father And Daughter Relationships

Father and Daughter Relationship It is said that a girl first love is supposed to be her father. While I do have unconditional love for my father our relationship has always been rocky. I am aware different fathers parent, and communicate differently but my father’s technique didn’t always seem appropriate. His intentions seemed to be in the right place but he went about them the wrong way. Although my father was present consistently within my life but, he was absent in the aspects of showing me…

Personal Narrative: My Father Daughter Relationships

Two weeks prior to my 45th birthday, my 21 year old daughter, Jacqueline, asked me to pick her up at her boyfriend's house because she said she wanted to talk to me. I could sense in her voice something might be troubling her by the nervous cracking in her voice and it was rather unusual for her to actually want to talk to me alone because for the last three years it seemed she confided in her mother more than anyone else, which is I assume is typical in most father/daughter relationships as…

Father Daughter Relationships In The Movie Crash By Paul Haggis

the citizens of the vast city of Los Angeles and yet manages to emphasize the key similarities all these characters have: their relationships with the individuals that surround them. One such relationship featured in this 2004 Drama film is that of a father and his daughter, to which Haggis offers two portrayals that speak volumes of the truth that though circumstances differentiate these characters ' lives, their relationship with his or her father or daughter unify them. Through these two…

Father Daughter Relationship

loved younger sister who is not allowed to be in a relationship with any guys until her scary and frowned-upon older sister finds a man of her own. Eventually there is a guy who is intrigued in the older sister allowing the younger sister to date. Both couples find someone they really like and fall in love. The relationships between the characters in The Taming of the Shrew and 10 Things I Hate About You effects the plot of the story and it is clear that the plot of 10 things I hate about you…

Analysis Of Love-Hate Relationship Between Father And Daughter In The Glass Castle

Love–Hate Relationship Between Father and Daughter The finger of blame indicates Rex, as the parent, did not succeed in his duty of raising his children. It only takes a small aspect of kindness for the children to feel loved again, but once he creates a constant situation involving money and alcohol the children change their minds on their view of their father. In the memoir, The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls narrates her favorite childhood memories with her father Rex Walls; regardless of his…

The Father-Daughter Relationship In Sir Gawain

utilizing his patriarchal authority over his daughter to accomplish his goal. Upon introducing Gawain to his daughter, the host states, “I bring you my daughter, if it does not displease you, for I have no more splendid entertainment to charm and please you” (“The Knight” 112). Immediately, the host is presenting his daughter as an object of entertainment, and fulfilling his role as a host by basically giving his daughter to Gawain to do with what he will for the night. The sense of ownership…

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Mother daughter relationship.

            The relationship between parents and their children is one of the most basic human interactions. Mothers and daughters provide both physical and emotional care for their young sons and daughters. In the process, parents will instill children with family values and goals, while teaching them the accepted norms and values of society. This is done in hope that parents will one day see their own children become mature adults, with their own goals and purposes in life. .              Mother-daughter relationships can be complex, but also filled with compassion and love. Mothers and daughters often seem farther away from each other than they really are. Usually when a girl goes through adolescence, the relationship between her and her mother begin to change in many different ways, but can grow at the same time. Even though the wars between a mother and daughter can ravage a relationship, they can easily be recognized earlier enough to keep a relationship from severing the ties that a mother and daughter have with one another. .              Adolescence. a time of seemingly more freedom, junior high to high school, football games, dances, parties, going out for pizza, dating, driving, a later curfew, going to the mall, and talking on the phone almost non stop. Many mothers rarely see their daughters during these times. With all the time she begins to spend with her friends, it seems as if the major issues constantly being discussed are bedtimes, clothing and chores. Girls are growing up and it may seem as if their mothers are being needed less, but they are needed, just in a different way. When I was beginning to enter adolescence, I wasn't completely separated from my mother, but I could feel it was beginning to happen. My sister Erin, who is now 21 felt the same way. "When I was younger, between 14-18 I separated form my mother and it almost felt like I was completely separated from her." Even though girls may feel like they are farther away from their mothers that they could ever get, it is not the end of the world.

Essays Related to Mother Daughter Relationship

1. mother-daughter relationships.

essay about loving daughter

Mother-Daughter Relationships Amy Tan's story "Two Kinds" is a powerful example of conflicting gender roles that plays a crucial role in the struggle between Jing-Mei and her mother. ... Tan is well known for portraying mother-daughter relationships in a lot of her novels. The most popular story that depicts the mother-daughter relationships is "The Joy Luck Club". ... There are similar mother daughter relationships in Tan's first novel "The Joy Luck Club". Walter Shear states, "In The Joy Luck Club there is four different mother-daughter relationships...

2. Mother Daughter Relationships

essay about loving daughter

Mother and Daughter relationships The story "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker (329-335) show us how mother hood and daughter relationships are different. The mother and her two daughter and there relationships are different and how they bond. Walker lets us see the mother daughter relations between Maggie and Dee, and growing up and making choices as we see with Dee and the hatred and self-esteem . Walker lets us see how the mother daughter relationship between the two daughters are different in ways that you can't even miss. ... The mother and her two daughter and there relat...

3. The Relationship of Mothers and Daughters in Divine Secrets

essay about loving daughter

The relationship between mothers and daughters is awesome in so many ways and could never be duplicated. ... The mother-daughter relationship in the novel is a typical one in which there are obstacles, but love always prevails and they are overcome. ... The mother-daughter relationship is one with bonds so strong they often contradict themselves. ... Any anger that stems from and mother-daughter relationship can be traced back to love that they hold for each other. Rebecca Wells fills her novel with every emotion possible in the mother-daughter relationship. ...

4. Mother daughter relationships

essay about loving daughter

In a married situation the daughter will have her parents around and will build a relationship with the parents collectively and separately as individuals. Where as, in a divorced relationship the daughter may grow a stronger bond with one parent due to living situation, custody, and frequency of seeing each parent. In families where parents are married, daughters relationships will vary verses relationships in families where the parents are divorced. In families with married parents daughters grow strong bonds and relationships with there parents. ... Defintion- webster diction...

5. Mother-daughter relationship

essay about loving daughter

Laura Winfield, her daughter. ... And also it has a big influence on the mother-children relationship this family. 2 Mother-Children Relationship (1) unnatural: every member has their own world of illusion This unnatural relationship is made possible by the fact that each of the three has their own world of illusion. ... The situation of the Wingfields in the first scene is only temporarily stable, and this stability changed into quarrels, reproach and desperation in the following scenes. 3 Mother-Daughter Relationship (1) Amanda for Laura: love, protection, pressure A experience ...

6. Mothers and daughters

essay about loving daughter

Mothers & Daughters What is motherhood? ... No relationship is quite as primal as the one between a mother and her daughter. ... The daughter looks to the mother for guidance and love. The relationship between a mother and a daughter is full of complex values and feelings this is evident in the novel The Joy Luck Club. ... The characters Suyuan and Jing-Mei Woo have a mother-daughter relationship confused with scattered conflict, but ultimately composed of deep love and commitment for one another. ...

7. Mother Daughter Relationships in Two Kinds

The story consists of her memories about childhood and relationships with her mother. This paper will be analyzing the mother/daughter dynamic in "Two Kinds.... It demonstrates the cultural gap that exists between mother and daughter. ... This passive aggressive dynamic stays between mother and daughter until the end of the mother's life. ... " "Pleading Child" symbolizes the memories of Jing-Mei as a child suppressed by her mother, and "Perfectly Contended" is Jing-Mei as an adult and her perspective on her relationships with her mother. ...

8. Mean Girls: Mother and Daughter Relationships

The relationship Regina has with her mother is unique, in the way that her mother is portrayed as more of a teenager herself who is detached from Regina's needs as a daughter. ... It never occurred to me that due to the lenient relationship she has with her mother, Regina thinks that her irresponsible, narcissistic behavior throughout the movie is acceptable because she is not corrected by her mother who models the same type of behaviour herself. Regina's mother perpetuates the negative stereotype of the egotistical teenage female and her daughter is a reflection of her example. ......

9. Annie John: Mother-Daughter Relationships

essay about loving daughter

The theme that stands out the most in Jamaica Kincaid's "Annie John" is the mother-daughter relationship. Kincaid accurately portrays how adolescence can strain these relationships by explaining and giving insight into mother- daughter relationships. ... In the beginning of the novel, the relationship between Annie and her mother was very strong. ... The relationship between Annie and her mother is altered as she gets older. ... She says, "Like mother like daughter....

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Essays For My Daughter

Essay For My Ten-Year-Old Daughter, Whom I Haven’t Spoken To In A While, Told In Reverse

I drive to your house, looking backward at where I’ve been. You walk into my arms and tell me goodbye. Your grandparents, who aren’t really your grandparents, wave from the door. We leave together in my rental car, headed to Denny’s.

We talk over lunch, and I’m happy. I stop, then start trying to act like a father — your father. After the waitress has taken away our plates, while we wait to leave, I struggle to think of something to ask you. I put my hat on and drive you to your house and walk you to the door. I drive back to the hotel, where I call to say I’m on my way. I fly home to Minnesota, still facing in your direction. On the phone I ask if you want to get lunch when I visit California. I listen to it ring. I dial your number. I wonder if you’re on summer break, if it’s a good time to call.

Months fold back up into the calendar. It rains, snows, rains. The dead leaves burn red-orange and sail back up into the trees, turn green once again.

I check my phone to see how long we’ll talk: twenty-seven minutes. We talk for precisely that long, and then the phone starts to ring, and you’re gone. Afterward I write down questions to ask you.

Several months pass. You turn nine. At the end of July I fly to California to see you, just like I did last year when you were ten. Then it’s May, April, March. Another year gone by. I think of how little I know about you: who your friends are, what your favorite TV show is, all that. You are eight, then seven, then six. You call me Michael instead of Dad.

An airplane brings me to California for your fifth birthday party. The sun rises in the west as the guests arrive. Kids play in the bounce house. Candy escapes from small hands and shoots up into the broken piñata. I pull on the rope from my spot on the roof, causing the piñata to sway and jerk. Kids take turns sealing it back up with a stick, then line up near you in the front yard. I drop the rope, climb down a ladder, smile and nod to Mr. Garcia when he asks if I want to man the piñata. An hour passes. From several tables away, I watch you wrap gifts. You sit in Alex’s lap while he unties your shoes, playing the role of father. Your aunt tells me you look like me in every way. I tell her you and I have the same smile, our top lip shaped like an m . She says she can see the resemblance. I try not to look upset when she says, “You must be the baby daddy.” Your aunt and I are introduced. I drive to my parents’ house.

You are four and think I’m your uncle. Then you are three and think I’m a cousin or a family friend. When I visit, you chase me around the avocado tree in your yard. All you need me to be is someone you can run after. You turn two. I move from Minnesota to California. I unpack the bed of my truck, unbox everything I own.

You have just stopped being two when I see you next. I tell Mr. Garcia I just wanted to meet my daughter before I leave California. My parents are here with me. You have your arms wrapped around Mr. Garcia’s leg. You do not call him Papa. You leave suddenly, disappearing back into the house. I listen for a child’s voice as I stand at the front door, trying to explain who I am, why I’m there. Mr. Garcia closes the door. I knock on it. My parents and I walk down the driveway, get into my truck, and drive away. At home I print directions to your house.

Months later your mother, K., gives me the home address of Mr. and Mrs. Garcia, the couple who have custody of you.

I run a marathon. I fill out a grad-school application. I volunteer to mentor at-risk youth. I run less and less until I am running just a few miles each day. It is summer again. I write poems that you walk through. I think of you. I try not to think of you. You are about to turn one.

I consider going to grad school. Days pass. I don’t want to think about you. I talk to K. on the phone. She tells me that the couple raising you are good people, that they think their son, Alex, is your father. She says you’re healthy. She says she fucked up and let another man think he’s the father. She tells me I have a daughter. I try to act like I don’t know why she might be calling me. K. apologizes for calling, says hello. I listen to her voice mail, where she says we need to talk. When she calls, I don’t answer the phone.

Essay For My Almost-Nine-Year-Old Daughter

Today we talk on the phone for exactly twenty-seven minutes. You tell me about your trip to the river, that you tried to swim but the water was “heavy.” You say chicken nuggets can be breakfast; breakfast is just whatever you eat in the morning. Your mama told you that. You say you get annoyed at your little cousins. I ask how much older you are than them, and you say four years, that this year you’ll be nine and you don’t want to become a teenager and get moody. You say none of your friends have parents as old as yours. You don’t want your mama and papa to get older, because then they’ll have to leave you, and you don’t want them to go. I don’t know what to say other than to agree with this fact. I say something about memories and photographs. You say you can’t wait to get more film for your camera.

You tell me you had a dream last night where your papa took you to a different school. He said, “This is where you have to go now.” You stayed there for years. When you woke up, you were glad it was a dream. Then you had chicken nuggets for breakfast. You ask what I am going to eat for dinner, and I say, “What do you think?”

I don’t know why — if there’s even a reason at all — but you say, “Let me guess: asparagus.”

Essay For My Eight-Year-Old Daughter, Who Is Focused On A Painting

At the art museum’s Family Day we stop to get you a drink of water. On the wall by the fountain is a painting, and around the painting are several yellow Post-it notes. A sign on a table reads, “Activity: title the painting.” Beside it is a stack of Post-its, pencils, and nubs of putty.

Did I say, Go ahead , or were you already staring at the painting, reaching for a yellow note?

Is this what it’s like: to watch your child and see in them parts that are you but also parts that are entirely their own?

The painting is of an autumnal forest. There’s a lake in the center, a small body of water surrounded by trees and grass. Yellows and browns, splashes of deep green. Bits of blue morning sky. Someone stands along the lake’s edge, a blurred figure wearing a brown cap, white shirt, and blue pants. I watch you watch them watching the water. Other children pass behind us, uninterested in this activity, and I am caught by a sudden sense of pride: how much you seem to care about art. It’s a selfish feeling, I know, but I don’t ever want to lose this memory.

Is this what it’s like: to be a father, excited to witness what your child is drawn to?

You write something down on your Post-it, stick it to the wall. You tell me it’s called Sorrowful Lake , because it’s beautiful but lonely. I step forward and stare at the blur of a man in the brown cap. “It is,” I say, “isn’t it?” Then I put my hand on your shoulder, and you let me leave it there. Children flood the path behind us.

Essay For My Eight-Year-Old Daughter, Ending With A Question

We find a room at the art museum where there are supplies for making paper crowns. I am the only father here, it seems. I wish one of the mothers would tell me what to do. You sit down at the table and look up at me. A mother walks up (lucky me!) and starts showing you how to fold the paper. She says the instructions on the handout don’t make sense. You ask me to pick my two favorite colors. We cut construction paper and crease lines as the mother says, “That’s good.”

Satisfied that we are all right, the mother leaves to help her own daughter. Some kids run out of the room, and more wander in. A few sit down at our table. I am still the only father here. I puff up my chest. The new kids look at us making our crowns and then hold the paper in their hands as if willing it to transform into what we have. I stand up and act like a father. Waving my hands in the air to get their attention, I tell them the instruction sheet is confusing; that they should fold the construction paper like so; cut here, fold again there; tape when ready. “Go ahead,” I say, “pick your favorite colors.”

You look up at me and say, “This one’s yours.” It’s yellow and brown, the colors of Minnesota in late October. You don’t say that last part, but I imagine you know somehow. I certainly know I shouldn’t think these thoughts, but it’s lonely in my head sometimes.

In another room kids make plastic stained-glass windows with Sharpies, yarn, popsicle sticks, and tape. I stand amid the mothers, and some fathers, and I blend right in. I cross my arms and say to you, “You’re doing great.” I watch you walk across the room to ask for blue, and I admire how you are assertive yet polite. (Lucky me!) You finish and say, “This one’s for you.” There is a small red heart on the bottom right corner.

Later, at Applebee’s, you produce a small photo of yourself from the pocket of your overalls and say, “Here.” I have gotten so many gifts today. (Lucky me!) I thank you and say I will put it on my desk at school. You say, “What if someone asks who it is?”

I say, “I’ll tell them it’s my daughter.”

You say, “What if they ask, ‘What’s her name?’ ”

Essay For My Eight-Year-Old Daughter, Who Is Asking Who I Used To Be

I sit next to you in the booth at Applebee’s. Scanning the kids’ menu, you ask me what I think you would like to eat. I guess: Quesadilla? Tacos? Corn dog?

“No,” you say. “The hamburger.”

“You would know if you were here more,” you say.

There’s no way around that truth, so I just swallow and say, “You’re right.”

Later, as we eat, you ask what you used to call me when you were younger, like when we first met.

How long have I been a mystery to you?

Whenever we spend the day together like this, I play the father. “Don’t eat too big a mouthful of food,” I say. “Five more minutes to play before we go.” “Put on your sweater; it’s getting cold.” “Because I said so. . . . I’m not asking” — lines borrowed from other parents. I’m trying out fatherhood, seeing how it feels on my shoulders. I affect a firm-but-I-hope-not-too-harsh voice. I make sure to kiss the top of your head.

For a long time you used to call me your “friend.” Then for a while you thought I was your cousin. Even now you switch between calling me Dad and Michael. I don’t mind, truly, though it takes me a while to prepare to be whoever I must be. And then, when I’m alone again and need to be just myself, that takes time, too.

Essay For My Eight-Year-Old Daughter In A Different Time Zone

I ’m usually at school when I call to see if you’re home. Before I call, I charge the battery in my headphones. I use the restroom and wash my hands. I turn off the light in my office and prepare to go outside, where it’s sunny. I don’t call right at 4:00, but just after, at 4:19 perhaps. I have a book of poems by Carl Phillips in my back pocket — in case I don’t get to talk to you, or in case I do, and I want to read poems afterward. I can’t say why this helps, but it does. I take a drink of water. I set the water bottle down. I step outside and dial.

You tell me how much you love pizza, how you’ve already done your homework, how last night your sister kept you up until ten o’clock. You don’t remember anything after that. You opened your eyes, and it was 6 AM . You had a smoothie for breakfast. It had raspberries, strawberries, milk, and banana. You’ve been stacking Jenga blocks while we talk. You tell me you’re going to kick the block tower over, that I might hear it crash. I do, and we laugh. You do this again with dominoes. Then you tell me about a science project your cousin helped you with; it involved a letter you sent me in the mail two weeks ago — though your mama, in the background, tells you it was only a few days ago. I haven’t received it, I explain. Maybe the snow in Minnesota slowed it down, you offer. Before we hang up, I tell you I love you and listen in case you say it back.

Essay For My Five-Year-Old Daughter, With A Game Of Tug-of-War Inside It

Another summer visit. Alex is home but stays in the garage.

You and I kick a ball back and forth and talk about I don’t know what. I make you giggle; I know that. I kick the ball over to you. You are standing by the garage window when Alex opens it. You say hi to him. He doesn’t say anything to me, and I don’t say hello to him. I kick the ball to you and wait for you to kick it back. From a radio inside the garage, we hear Latin cumbia music. You tell him not to change the station. Alex turns the music up, and you start dancing, the ball forgotten at your feet. Now I know you like to dance to cumbias .

I pretend to look around, then ask, “Where’s the ball?” A small “Oh” floats from your mouth. You kick the ball, but you don’t stop dancing, so when you kick it, it flies crooked across the yard. I walk over to the bush it bounced behind and pull it from the dirt, dusting it off until it is as clean as it will ever be, maybe even cleaner than when the factory packed it to ship. As I walk back, my steps are short and slow. I take stock of what clouds I can see.

Essay For My Six-Year-Old Daughter In Which Reality Is Bent And Then Restored

It’s complicated, I know: the day you, my girlfriend, and I play in the front yard under the shade of the avocado tree. Your mama and papa are inside talking to my parents. It’s July, so I keep telling you to drink water. You run around, and Lissa and I look at each other as if none of this were unusual, as if we came over to play all the time.

I chase you around the tree while Lissa watches. I tell you to stay hydrated.

To get us both involved, you say, “Let’s play Mommy and Daddy.” Lissa looks at me, and the corners of our mouths lift toward the branches.

You offer us pieces of chalk. You take the pink, Lissa picks neon green, and I choose yellow. “Draw the daddy,” you say. So I do. “Draw the mommy,” you say to Lissa, and she does. You draw yourself between us. You tell me to go to work. You go to school. Lissa cleans the house. Afterward, in the dusty afternoon, we have dinner. There is a pink table with pink legs. We are a family like that for two minutes, maybe more.

Then Alex comes walking across the driveway. He doesn’t say anything, but you stand up, quick and sharp. You run over to him, and without turning my head I hear you say, “We’re playing Mommy and Daddy, and Michael is Daddy and Lissa is Mommy, but it’s not real; it’s just pretend.” Because I don’t turn my head to watch, I imagine you are waiting for him to tell you it’s OK . I imagine the face he is trying not to make — some paragraph of pain you already know how to read, young as you are.

You come back and draw a pink circle around our whole, tiny family — captured. We float over the cement the rest of the day.

Essay for My Five-Year-Old Daughter Bearing Gifts

I say, “I have to fly home. Minnesota.” I say, “I have work. I teach at a school.” I wonder what you imagine when I say, “I have students like you, but a lot older.”

You look at your sandals, wiggle your toes.

When I’m gone, I’ll send letters. Stickers. A stuffed animal.

I say, “Be good.” I say, “I love you,” and think about how many times it might take before the words stick inside your head as a memory. I don’t remember much about being five.

Sometimes, when I leave, you don’t say anything. You turn back to the front yard and disappear into the shade, skipping.

But other times you tell me, “Come back tomorrow. There’ll be lemonade.” You tell me we can go to the park, and I wonder how far that is from here. Most times my departure is a big production: First, handshakes and hugs with your mama and papa. Then the walk down your driveway. The loose strands of conversation. When I leave, I always get something from you to take with me, a gift to carry to the car: boxed chocolates; fresh oranges; a jar of peanut-butter-filled pretzel bites. Your mama and papa are thoughtful like that. They give you something to give to me. I leave with my sunglasses on, waving my hand. Sometimes you call my name, your voice a taut string, and I think Michael might snap in half. But it’s strong — a tether. A song plays as I walk away, and I can’t quite catch the lyrics. I tell myself not to look back. There’s a baby avocado tree in my arms.

Michael Torres


I was taken by Michael Torres’s “ Essays for My Daughter ” [June 2022]. The author’s creative approach to the timeline and controlled release of information let me feel the heartbreak and emotional confusion of both the young girl and her father. This piece will stay with me for a long time.

Also In This Issue

June 2022

Without Ceasing

Become a friend of the sun, selected poems, heavenly days, related selections.

The Jump

Judaism’s Mystical Heart

An interview with dovid din.


Our Son At One Year Old

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