Cady Gray is very excited about turning seven years old tomorrow. It's not about getting presents -- between the shared birthday party last weekend and the gifts that have been arriving from grandparents, she's already opened everything but a few books we've held back for her. It's not about cake or ice cream or fancy clothes.
Apparently she's just excited to be growing up. I try to think back to that age and remember what it was like to know I was a child, but that something other than childhood was coming. I remember specific times when it irked me that I wasn't old enough to do something I wanted to do, and I remember the generalized looking forward to having more privileges and freedoms. But I don't remember the sense of my own powers increasing, the sense that more and more things would be possible for me, the sense that growing older meant growing better -- this sense that seems to infuse Cady Gray with an incandescent glow.
For parents as lucky as we have been to have smart, happy, healthy kids, it can be almost embarrassing how life with them just gets more interesting and rewarding by the year. My daughter is the gift I never deserved, and best of all, she gives that gift to herself as avidly as she does to everyone around her. Happy birthday, sweetie. Thank you for your boundless potential, which I borrow regularly to fuel my continued optimism for the future.