Thirteen years ago we left home for another prenatal checkup for this backwards and wrongside up baby we were expecting soon. We weren't planning on making a stay at the Birthing Inn, but that's what was decided that morning. No overnight bags or toothbrushes, house unlocked, cat without food, the whole nine yards. At the end of the day, this wee person was the reward. When I met her, and she heard my voice, she clutched my finger in her tiny little hands. Those same hands that dance across the fiddle now.
I went home the next morning to get clothes and take care of things a bit. I was driving the Lime Kiln Rd. along Goose Creek back to the house, and I noticed that all the multiflora roses on the hillside seem to have burst into bloom since we'd passed them the morning before. It's not how she got her middle name, but it certainly validated the choice.
When she was little we celebrated our birthdays with whatever fruit is in season - strawberries for her, peaches for me, pumpkins for Michelle. Our neighbors (and her longtime classmate whose birthday is a couple days before) at Wegmeyer Farms grow beautiful pick-your-own strawberries, so I've made a point to always get a bucket for her birthday. She's been in school the last few birthdays, but we had a chance to go together yesterday. Her childhood glee and delight at picking amazing strawberries again will last me a long time, as will thinking of all the kindnesses sent by family, neighbors and friends near and far. (shhh, she doesn't know about that part til tonight 🙂.
I did get the best gig being this dad, and I got the biggest strawberry too 🙂
Happy Birthday my not-so-little love.