It’s her last year of single digits. Trinity turned nine! Excuse me while I prefer to reminisce about that first night I held her. Despite exhaustion from a long hard day (and night before!,) I could hardly sleep. I just wanted to look at her snuggled up next to me in my hospital bed marveling that she had actually arrived. She was joy and hope and love all wrapped up in one tiny pink and blue bundle. Did you know that hope for the future is sometimes topped with a soft pink hat hand-knit by a kindly elderly woman? She’ll never know what her arrival meant to me. Until, perhaps, she has a child of her own. But that is many years in the future after she’s grown. She’s working hard on that. Growing, I mean.

“It looks more grown up this way and I feel grown up now,” she said of her bike helmet that is now plain black after somehow losing it’s decorative colors. She was standing on the sidewalk over her brand new bike. The grown up kind of bike. The kind with gears Andy was teaching her to use. The kind she can ride with him on the trails behind our house (when she’s ready). She test rode this red and black bike along with another that was pink and black. I thought for sure she’d choose the one with pink. Just because it had pink. To my surprise she chose the red and black bike. She liked the way it felt when she rode it more. “It is actually a better bike,” Andy said later. I could tell he was proud she had discerned that for herself and made her decision based on feel rather than simply color. She is, indeed, growing up daily.

She is kind, loving, funny, generous, smart, compassionate, determined, and often wise beyond her years. She can get lost for hours in her imagination weaving tales and inventing characters. She can be oblivious to things right in front of her and, yet, has an ability to read people and see through them in a way that astounds us for her age.

That night I kissed Trin on the top of the head and realized I wouldn’t be able to do that much longer. She’s getting so tall. “Happy Birthday Baby Girl,” I told her.

“I’m not a BABY!” she replied.

“Sweetheart,” I answered “You can grow up all you want but you’ll always be my baby. Even when you’re 40.”