That won't do, least of all on her birthday. I have a head full of memories and don't always sort wisely or well between what is real and what I remember as real (which causes me trouble and earns me stern looks). My wife has shoe boxes full of pictures of both of our children and in nearly all of them, Michelle is looking directly into the lens, into the eye of the person taking the picture. She has, or shows, no fear of the world, another attribute she has from her mother.
Michelle is finishing up her undergraduate degree at Eastern Connecticut State University, ECSU, in Willimantic, which is a little less than an hour's ride from our house and so the five (I think) semesters she lived on campus were a foreshadowing without actually ever being a preview of what life in our house will be like when, she, like her brother almost a decade ago, leaves to be a part of the bigger world.
She will always be our child-she knows this, we've told her this and she believes us. I'm not sure she's always comfortable with how often one of us (me) sees a four year old when she's saying something, though you'd think by now, especially after yesterday's story about she got hit on by a guy in Providence, I'd have abandoned my 'she's my four old' point of view as technically untenable. I'm grateful I haven't left for Providence, yet.
As she prepares to become a citizen of the world later this month, walk across the stage and shake hands with some representative of ECSU she'll very likely never see again, and set off on her way to being whatever person she so chooses to be, I know she'll never lose sight of no matter how far or fast she grows and goes, she will always be our little girl. Happy Birthday, itty-bit!