Time is like a freight train — you can’t stop it no matter how much you may want to. My daughter Leah turns 19 today. How is that possible? I first marked her birthday on this blog when she entered the double digits in 2004. Gulp! I love seeing the photos I used to celebrate her birthday over the past nine years. It’s not that I really want to stop time, I just get very teary when I look at old photos and remember when Leah was a little girl. I could write a 2,000-word essay on each of the ten photographs above and talk about those different stages of Leah’s life. But instead I’ll just say that I could not admire the woman Leah has become more than I do and I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring.
After leaving high school early years ago, Leah is now applying to colleges for next fall. She’s had so many amazing experiences during these school-less years but her intrinsic love of learning has never left her. When she prepared for the SAT and ACT tests earlier this year she rediscovered her love of math. I have walked into her room many times late at night and found her on some math website doing problems just for fun, long after the tests were over. Oy, I’m starting to sound like my Dad and his endless kvelling about his children’s accomplishments, God love him.
Leah leaves in a few weeks for Sancerre, France, for a language immersion course and she plans to spend several months in France after that. She’ll probably keep traveling until the point where she leaves for college so who knows how much longer we’ll have the luxury of having her home with us. Waaaaaah!!
Nineteen years ago at this very moment, Leah’s mom and I were sitting in the El Capitan Theater watching the movie version of “The Lion King.” It could not be more perfect that Leah was practically born in that movie palace on Hollywood Boulevard. She’ll be down the street at the Pantages in a few days seeing the musical theater version of “The Lion King” and she played Rafiki in a production of that play a few years ago which made it Charlie's very first musical as well. Leah and I have gone back to the El Capitan countless times over the years, including a multi-year stint of early Saturday morning screenings of classic Disney films. The picture taken on her 13th birthday above is in front of the El Capitan where we had just seen “Enchanted.”
Leah, I love you so much. You are the best daughter, sister, stepdaughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin, and friend that anyone could ever hope for and I’m so honored, thrilled, and humbled to be your dad. I look forward to the many years ahead except I can’t think about that for too long since I’m just as neurotic about the future as I am about the past. Solution? LIVE IN THE MOMENT and be grateful for the wonderful times that we share. Happy 19th Birthday!