Friday, September 12, 2014
When little girls turn 17
17 years ago today, my wife gave birth to a sweet little munchkin who, when the nurse first put her in my arms, seemed almost too small and light to be real. I peeked underneath the rolled-up blanket to see if there was any more of her under there. There wasn't, and yet, she was absolutely perfect in her teenie-ness.
We shouldn't have been surprised. After all, from the first moment we had seen her on the ultrasound screen all those months earlier, she seemed smaller than life, almost like a little peanut. So that's what we called her: Peanut. Or Peanut Girl. And it's what we've been calling her ever since. And probably always will.
The funny thing is, in 17 years, Dahlia has managed to grow from smaller than life to larger than it. She is as close to a force of nature as anyone can be, someone who grabs on to a moment and makes it firmly her own. Just like my wife, she's sensitive, smart, creative and empathetic. She's lived on honour roll from the moment she got into high school, she's fiercely protective of her little brother as he settles into his own high school life, and she's emerging as an immensely gifted artist whose work blows minds and merits a spot above anyone's mantel.
For all her accomplishments, she is as rooted in the forces of goodness as anyone can possibly be. Just like my wife, she has a soul that draws others toward her, makes them smile, makes them think, and makes me glad we had her. Everyone knows Dahlia, and everyone adores her.
Closer to home, she stands her ground in a house that never seems to slow down, with enough backbone and sheer strength of will that I don't ever worry about her. Of course, we always worry about our kids, but somehow I know she'll always find a way to navigate whatever life throws at her. Some people have that innate sense of gravity, and she's one of them.
She's grown in so many ways since that fateful day 17 years ago, and I can't wait to see where she takes herself - and us - next.
Happy birthday, maidel. May you continue to go from strength to strength, and may you continue to bring light and joy to our lives.