Monday, April 19th, marked the seventh anniversary of my family’s permanent arrival in the United States. That I should only have realized this half way through the morning tells you something about how things have changed over those years. In earlier times the occasion was marked by hanging dark shrouds in the windows and playing Elgar at top volume on the stereo for two weeks straight.
More importantly, today is Catherine’s fifth birthday. At the risk of sounding hackneyed, this is nigh impossible to believe. It seems only yesterday that we brought her home for the first time. Paradoxically, it feels as if she’s been with us for ever.
Those of you who know her will be aware of her various talents and characteristics. She is possibly the most single-minded person I know. She is also one of the funniest. But it took my mother to point out to me that Catherine was also probably the happiest child she’s ever known. Up until that point, I’d somehow missed the fact that my little girl has an extraordinary capacity for joy. This is her gift to the world. And we are all the richer for it.
When Christina was pregnant for the second time, I sometimes worried that I would never be able to love another human being as much as I loved Hallam, our son. Turns out I was wrong.
Happy birthday, love.