Happy Birthday, Joy!

When I was about eleven years old my mom gave me a pair of stilts for Xmas or birthday. It was fun at first.  I got the hang of it within minutes and soon could amaze my friends from the neighborhood, who always said, “Hey, let me try.”

The novelty wore off after a while. Stilts increased my stature by maybe ten or twelve inches. But by age twelve or thirteen I had moved on to other interests—a ten-speed bike, skateboards, bowling, baseball, and roller skating.

But for a while stilts made me feel on top of the world. I was as tall as an adult. Falling off my stilts happened from time to time. I skinned my knees and suffered bruises. But I survived.

Joy turned four today. No, I did not buy her stilts for birthday. But her stature has increased by at least three inches this year. And she seems to be on top of the world. She feels so grown up now that she’s going to “school” (Psst! It’s daycare). She likes using the tallest chairs at home. She stands on (and jumps off of) the couch and does acrobatics on our king size bed. She is proud of her ability to run and jump and throw. And dance.

Joy has a friend named Dylan. They like each other a lot. They play on the slide and jump on the mats and stack blocks. Dylan teaches Joy how to play with his dinosaurs. Joy follows Dylan around the house and is learning from him.

Dylan is six. A few days ago, when Joy was still three, Dylan said, “Some people don’t talk when they are three. But Joy will be four soon. And she will talk to me.”

That may be. But right now Joy is communicating with hoots and laughs, smiles, hugs and kisses, and long, confident pronouncements composed of syllables and words that only she understands completely. But I know she is telling us about her day and how grown up she feels and how much she loves us, her family.

Happy birthday, daughter. We love you to the moon and back.

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