Saturday, April 26, 2014

Happy Birthday, Girl on Fire!

Tonight my oldest child Emma will gather with a sizable portion of her high school's student body for a celebration of four Sweet Sixteen birthdays - hers and three of her closest friends, all born within a month of each other.

It's an event guaranteed to offer very loud music, animated conversations and plenty of laughter. And one for which I will need a strong cup of coffee to see the end of.

Last night, by comparison, was a quiet affair at our country home - a post-softball-game dinner followed by a campfire in the back yard.

It was a time for my wife and I to connect with two of our three offspring who were home for the evening and to capture a few photos in the process.

Although unplanned, the composition of one of the photos - my daughter's face illuminated by the campfire flames in front of her - was not coincidental. This is how I see her, in fact...a girl on fire.

At sixteen, she is living a life full of energy and passion, one of new adventures and lasting memories created with close friends.

She burns with the excitement and vitality of someone quickly transitioning from adolescence to adulthood.

And yet while appearing simple, the fire analogy is actually more complex.

In the person she is becoming, I also see a warmth of character - one built on integrity, an intrinsic sense of fairness and right and wrong, and a compassion for and kindness toward others.

She is a person I admire and learn from daily, despite her youth.

In seeing who she is now and is still becoming, I'm humbled to know that despite the mistakes her mother and I may have made as first-time parents, there's a lot we've done right...even if by accident at times.

Sitting around the glow of last night's fire, I appreciated her company, recognizing that in just two short years, she'll complete her transition and leave our nest for a much bigger one.

For the time being, I'll try to live in the present and enjoy the time we have remaining as a family under one roof.

But when the time comes for Emma to make her mark on the world, I'm confident the trail she'll blaze will be spectacular.


  1. Well said and enjoy all the moments! What an exciting time in her life!

  2. We have a daughter who is in Germany on a youth exchange and turned 17 while she is there. She is so full of life and has red hair so the "girl on fire" analogy fits her as well. She will return to us in July, be here for her senior year and then leave us again for college. Our daughter is now getting a taste of the wider world and although we too have made mistakes, we know that she too will become a wonderful adult. You get a sense that she too will set the world on fire.