Eleven years ago today, my life changed dramatically. My daughter came into my life with pomp and circumstance, marching straight to center stage without hesitation. From the very first day, she was self-aware and purposeful. She has always known what she wants and goes after it immediately–even if that changes next week.

The path to her goals is littered with people she has left smiling, better for having known her–not for simply the act of knowing her, but because she never hesitates to stop and help. She pours out love and care on everyone around her and her well never dries. Without even trying, she leaves everyone glittering with her sparkle.

I’m in awe of this girl who is at once smart and kind and thoughtful and creative and confident and sensitive–all with a panache like I’ve never seen elsewhere. I wish I could claim those traits came from me, but they are all her own.

Happy birthday, Kara. You’re the girl I always dreamed to be.

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