Friday, September 18, 2009

Golden Birthday

Yesterday we celebrated our daughter Sarah's golden birthday. We began by offering gifts of the spirit, for although Sarah is age seventeen, she is, I'm convinced, an old soul. A few hours after she was born, I fell asleep with her by my side, and found that the gentleness of her presence calmed and soothed me. It has been that way ever since.

When my mother lay dying in the critical care unit of Harborview, Sarah, then age 12, stood close by her grandmother's bed, stroking my mother's face with her hand, tears rolling down her cheeks, but firm in her conviction that my mother would forever remain with us. The youngest child of two artists, Sarah has sensed the sorrow of dreams gone awry, but has taught us, by thoughtful words and actions, to perceive each day as a blessing; each day another opportunity to try to improve life's ills. Every Sunday, after she volunteers her afternoons for patients at Children's Hospital, she calmly tells us that to go outdoors and bask in the delights of nature is a privilege not to be taken lightly, as is a bike ride, a swim in the frigid waters of the Puget Sound, or a sweaty climb to the peak of Tiger Mountain. She rushes outside to greet the sunshine, rain and sometimes snow; the scent of fresh air lingering on her face and in her beautiful hair.

Sarah gathers the richness of all things sublime; she is a lover of music and poetry; a believer in the transcendent ability of the arts to transform the spirit and world; a champion of the under-privileged. Her imagination soars to faraway places and galaxies. She has taught my ears to accept different harmonies, my eyes to see beyond the physical, and though I may never quite succeed, she encourages my heart to forgive.

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