This beautiful young woman is 17 years old today. She was a little reluctant to make her entrance into the world, so at almost two weeks overdue she was induced. To make it convenient for the delivering doctor we checked into the hospital at about 7:00 p.m. Caitlin kept me up all night and is a night owl to this day. She was born at about 6:00 in the morning, my biggest baby at 9 pounds, 12 ounces. She had a head full of black hair and I wondered if she was mine. Indeed she was, and for that I will be ever thankful. What a blessing is a daughter who loves, cares, and thinks as deeply as this one does and who lives in a way that honors both her parents and her God. One of my birdies has already left the nest and this one is not far behind. I will miss her so.
I wish I could write a poem for my daughter, the writer. Maybe some day I will. For now, I will borrow the words of another. For you, Caitlin. Happy birthday with love.
In her room at the prow of the house
Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden, My daughter is writing a story. I pause in the stairwell, hearing From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys Like a chain hauled over a gunwale. Young as she is, the stuff Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy: I wish her a lucky passage. But now it is she who pauses, As if to reject my thought and its easy figure. A stillness greatens, in which The whole house seems to be thinking, And then she is at it again with a bunched clamor Of strokes, and again is silent. I remember the dazed starling Which was trapped in that very room, two years ago; How we stole in, lifted a sash And retreated, not to affright it; And how for a helpless hour, through the crack of the door, We watched the sleek, wild, dark And iridescent creature Batter against the brilliance, drop like a glove To the hard floor, or the desk-top, And wait then, humped and bloody, For the wits to try it again; and how our spirits Rose when, suddenly sure, It lifted off from a chair-back, Beating a smooth course for the right window And clearing the sill of the world. It is always a matter, my darling, Of life or death, as I had forgotten. I wish What I wished you before, but harder.