I now have a ten year old daughter. When I started this journey as a first time parent one decade ago I had no idea where it would take me. I still don’t. Parenthood is a gauntlet of endless challenges. It is the reason I have grey hair. And it is stunning in its revelations. I watch my daughter act in ways I acted and then in ways I never acted. It is a reminder that she is not an echo or a mirror but her own beautiful person. She makes me think about everything and if that weren’t prize enough, she laughs at (some of) my jokes. I know she’s tough and vulnerable in equal measure. I know she knows everything and is innocent concurrently. I know she will challenge me at every step and push buttons I didn’t even know I had. But she loves me. And I can’t imagine my life without a taste of that little smile, that little hand closed around mine, that little mind racing to think of another reason to keep me occupied in her presence so she can stay up later than she is supposed to. And it breaks upon me like a wave that her once tiny helpless hands have grown larger and more capable. And in less than a decade more, she may no longer be in my care and that every single moment with her is something to cherish and be in the moment for. To Madeleine on her tenth birthday, I love you.

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