When my daughter is home, flowers from the backyard find their way onto the table. Different ones every week, the yellow wildflowers from the corner under the trees, the white bougainvillea creeping through the fence from the neighbor’s yard, the plumerias striped dark pink, apricot, and snow.
When my daughter is home, pets find their way to our door. Neighbor children bring baby birds. Stray rabbits show up in the field on the way home from school. Chameleons appear on the sidewalk. All of them come home to stay.
When my daughter is home, she sits up late with her brothers, both taller than her, together on the couch with her computer open in front of them. They’re laughing at something together, talking, watching. Every time I try to send them upstairs for bed they drift back to her room, one more idea, one more laugh, one more something to say.
When my daughter is home, the sound of harp music drifts through the rooms, soft but insistent, like a gentle rainfall.
When my daughter is home there is quiet, except for the sound of typing, a fluttering of word-wings, as miles and miles of sentences spool out through her fingers from the endless spinning wheel of her mind. Dizzying word counts mount up day after day.
When my daughter is home, the dishes get done. Every last one. And the counters are wiped down. There’s someone to watch the other children, someone to be here when school gets out.
When my daughter is home, the house is full again, if only for a little while.