To Elizabeth, On the Eve of Her Birthday

Tomorrow is the birthday of my beloved daughter, Elizabeth Beaty, who will be moving right up the line with the magic number 29. I happen to know that Elizabeth reads my blog, so this is the perfect spot to express my feelings without dissolving into a blubbering mess, which I would most certainly do if I attempted to communicate these thoughts and feelings in person. So, here goes…

Dear Elizabeth,

I believe you will discover that every year gets easier and more fulfilling from here. Aging has its benefits, not the least of which is a clearer and calmer state of mind after navigating the many choices and obstacles presented in one’s 20’s. So, I will quote what someone said to me as I edged towards 30. “Welcome to the beginning of the best part of the rest of your life.”

As for you, my dear, let me just say that you continue to be one of the singular joys of my life. Not only are you smart and beautiful, but you are also kind, considerate and generous. I cannot begin to express how proud I am of you for all of your many accomplishments – what with a B.A., M.A. and J.D., plus passing one of the most difficult bar exams in the country the first time through. But the truth is that even if you didn’t have any of those degrees under your belt, I would still be proud and pleased with the person you’ve turned out to be. You are proactive, community-minded, open-hearted and full of love and laughter. You bring joy to the people around you, value friends and family, and have more common sense in your little toe that most people have in their entire bodies. You also know how to have a damned good time in this life while keeping yourself healthy and full of energy.

I guess you can tell I am rather fond of you…

So, let me just say that my life has been made better every day since January 16, 1986 when you were born because I have had the pleasure of having you near me. Your presence has added love and light to my life, and for that I am exceedingly grateful.

Thank you for being your sweet self. Your very existence makes the world a better place. (Not to mention your organizational skills, which have the potential to be transformative if extended to the world at large.)

Yes, it is lovely that you are both capable and caring. What a fine combination of qualities to possess.

I hope you have a wonderful time at Disneyland tomorrow, which is a perfect birthday place, and I will look forward to spending this weekend together in the orange grove and at the ocean. Nothing makes me happier than spending time with you and the rest of our beloved family in places we all love.

So, please know that I love you. In addition – as my mother used to say to me – “I’d like you even if you weren’t my child.” This is, of course, the highest compliment a parent can give to his/her son or daughter.

Holding you always close to my heart. Have a lovely birthday, sweet girl.

Big hugs,


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