"The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned." —Maya Angelou
She is our safe place. Not just mine, not just her dad's and her brother's, but all of us. She takes us as we are, she laughs at our quirks, delight in the musical sound of it, and we feel that we are seen fully and loved just exactly as we are. This is her gift. She is our gift. And my wish for her, on this her seventeenth birthday, which she is spending a world away in South Africa, teaching children who have very little in the way of material possessions, children who she says have climbed inside her heart, my wish for her on this day is that the world will mirror for her all that she is—a girl whose love allows for our failings, who is willing always to see the best of who we are, whose gentle laughter heals our human aches and makes us feel that we are home. God bless you, sweetheart, and bring you home safe. We love you so much. Happy birthday.