She began pulling up to furniture when she was six months old, stepping along quite well by seven months, and by eight months she was skilled but tiny walker. She had places to go, things to do, and no fear at all. She was forever climbing and falling and I was forever trying to catch her before she bit the dust.
And so the years went. Life threw up one hurdle after another and she just kept climbing and running, and occasionally falling.
Her short seventeen years have been punctuated with three major surgeries, a handful of broken bones, a house fire, and several losses. Life has been a little bit rough on her, but she just keeps going with the same headstrong tenacity that she entered this world with. Sometimes she falls down, but she gets back up stronger and more determined than ever.
She is hysterically funny, comically clumsy, fiercely protective of her siblings, and so nurturing it will melt your heart. She is smart, witty, intuitive, and unbelievably resilient.
I still run behind her, trying to keep her from falling, hoping to save her from pain, knowing all the while that soon, I must let her run free. She is at that tender, bittersweet age now- no longer a child, not quite an adult.
As she blew out her birthday candle, I made a wish for her- that she will stay strong and determined, keep her sense of humor, and never just take the easy path.
Happy birthday, Tuna.