Grand Bend, ON
As much as it seems like yesterday, and as much as her life seems to have gone from then to now in a figurative blink, I realize the reason it seems to have moved so quickly is because it's been a pretty charmed journey. She's gone from a bald-headed tiny person to a wild-curly-haired toddler to a very self-assured, whip-smart and incalculably kind young woman, and she's done so as the centre point of a growing orbit of friends and fans, all of whom adore her. Because with Dahlia, once you get to know her, adoration is pretty much all you'll feel.
As the middle child in between two brothers, I've always seen her as having a backbone of titanium. I worry about all of my kids, of course, but I don't worry about her. Whatever comes her way or crosses her path, she gets it. She figures it out. She makes it hers. She's always managed to touch those around her in ways that ensure they a) are better for the experience and b) they never forget the experience - or her, for that matter.
I know I'm biased because I'm her dad, but looking at how much she's figured out in her short 19 years on this planet, it's clear I'm not the only one who's proud of the person she's become.
I shot this a couple of weeks ago on our traditional last-day-of-summer trip to the beach. The two of us took a photo walk, and as I've done so many times when we throw our cameras over our shoulders and head out, I quietly drank in the experience of talking through the photographic process with a creative wizard who's already seeing and capturing the world in ways I never remotely approached. All parents want their children to find their footing, to pick a direction, and to soar wherever their dreams may take them. We're privileged to have a daughter who's done just that, and more.
We're so proud not only of who she's become and where she's headed, but of how she's done so, and how profoundly she's influenced the lives of everyone around her.
Happy birthday, Peanut Girl. We love you to the moon and back.