Today is ArtGirl’s birthday and I am feeling the need to mark the moment with a few reflections about some of the things I admire about my daughter. She questions with assiduous tenacity and refuses to accept at face value an explanation that does not square with her sense of things. Yet even as she champions what is reasonable, she holds herself always open to the possibility of a bit of magic. She cares in earnest about others, and with a deep-rooted empathy. Yet her empathy comes at a cost, for she feels for others and is now beginning to learn (in ways I wish I could have her avoid) that others often don’t feel for her. Helping her come to terms with this hard reality without diminishing her own ethical imagination is something her mother and I consider one of our most important responsibilities. She sees the beauty in things and makes things beautiful. She laughs with abandon and invites others to abandon themselves to laughter. Written words are beginning to release their hidden meaning to her. Reading is a joy she is happy to share, but also proud to do alone. She is becoming a good athlete because she pays attention and works at it. She is mature and generous in ways that continue to surprise me … and this from when she was very young. She has always been just who she is. She has a good heart and a deep sense of justice. So, in the spirit of our nightly ritual in which we say what we are thankful for, I will repeat here the words she articulates almost every night: “I am thankful for the time we have together and all the ways we are blessed in our lives.” Happiest of Birthdays.