I’ve been documenting Leah’s birthday on this blog since the day she hit the double digits in 2004. Back then, in the heyday of blogging, I was writing here every day. Ten years later, this is the only post I’ve written for the entire year. But I had to mark her twentieth birthday.
A year ago today, Leah was getting ready to head to a five-month adventure in France. After leaving high school in 2010 at the beginning of her sophomore year, she was finally ready to return to academia and had started the process of applying to colleges. At that time we didn’t have any idea that she’d soon be realizing her dream of living in New York. Leah got accepted at NYU and is now home on break from her first semester there (where she just received straight As — forgive me, Leah, for finally completing my transformation into my father who spends his life telling people about his children’s “accomplishments”). I visited Leah at NYU last month and had a fantastic five days hanging out with her in HER environment for the first time ever and meeting her new friends and talking about all the things that make her tick as she approaches adulthood.
I’ll try not to go overboard here, but I’ll just say what an honor and a thrill it has been for the past 20 years to be able to watch Leah grow and mature into the amazing, caring, unique person she is today. Oh, who am I kidding — not go overboard? That’s just not in my DNA. I had to make a little video to mark this day. Music has always been a huge part of Leah’s life. While she decided to stop performing several years ago, her love of theater still abounds and I know she’ll always be connected to this world. I love watching Leah singing her guts out, even though she may kill me for posting this sampling of a few of her musical moments from the past two decades.
Leah, thank you for being such great daughter, sister, and human being. I could not be more excited about the next 20 years. When you turned 16 four years ago today, you asked me, with a tremor of fear in your voice, if I’d now spend the entire year warbling the largely offensive song that I’d been singing in your ear since (literally) the day you were born. My answer then was, “Sorry...but YES.” In the end, I don't think I sang it nearly enough during that year, but who said I had to stop?
You wait, little girl, on an empty stage
For fate to turn the light on
Your life, little girl, is an empty page
That men (women, and other self-identified genders) will want to write on
You are sixteen going on seventeen
Baby, it's time to think
Better beware, be canny and careful
Baby, you're on the brink!
I love you, Leah!