This morning Clara woke up like a lightning bolt. She launched out of bed from a sound sleep to a wide awake little girl as if there was an alarm going off in the world that only she could hear. She spun in a circle looking at the room, smiling at everything as if she were seeing it all for the first time. As if she had just been born, a new person, a magical awakening.

Then she turned to me and beamed, “Daddy! It’s my birthday! It’s my birthday today and I am five years old.” she held up her open hand.

“And look!” she spun in a circle. “look how tall I am! And I’m not even standing on my tippytoes.”

Then she giggled and crumpled into an excited ball for a second, and bound out the door to go introduce herself to her mother.

Happy Birthday, Clara Joy. You are a blessing to so many. Let’s go eat cake.