She keeps me up. Again and again and my eyes stop focusing properly. All I want is sleep.

And I whisper to her in frustration, “It’s a good thing I love you so much.”

I love you at 4am when everyone’s asleep but us.

I love you when you projectile vomit all over me in public.

I love you when you pull out the fine hairs on the back of my neck out of sheer delight at the joy of the hug.

I love you when my arms are so tired of holding you because you won’t go to anyone else.

I love you when I have to change your everything in the dark before sunrise.

I love you in bowls of mashed banana and cereal that is harder to rinse out when dry than any other dishes.

I love you with crushed cheerios underfoot and power sockets I have to remember to stop up all over again.

I love you until I feel raggedy inside and out. Until I feel undone and unmade and with perpetual bed head and dark blotchy eyes.

And it surprises me. This raw love. Third time around it doesn’t fade. It simply¬†ricochets back at me the harder I give it to you.

Daughter.

Hold me in your tiny arms, your Raggedy Ann mother, and never let me go.

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