When Jessamyn, our oldest, was born, we thought there couldn't been a more perfect child. Turns out we were right. But then -- thirty-seven years ago -- Christina came along and we learned there it was possible to have two most perfect childs, each better than the other. Less then a hour after Christina was born, Kitty and I were dancing in her room while a surprised candy-striper was trying to get Kitty into her bed; the candy-striper gave up and ran to find some food for us because, you know, birthin' them babies is hard work.
Anyway Christina came along, determined from the very start to make her own mark in the world. She first tried to do this by having colic for her first seven months. My mother-in-law determined that we were poor parents and took Christina for a night, convinced that she had the magic touch to make the baby sleep. The next day, she told us, "I was going to rock the baby to sleep, but I couldn't find a big enough rock!" At seven months, the pediatrician told us that Christina was fine, but he was prescibing cranky baby drops for us. Within a day, the colic stopped and Christina morphed into the sweetest baby ever, and evidently has been trying to make up for it ever since.
Up until first grade she was called "Christy"; then one day she solemnly told us her name was "Christina", and she has been Christina ever since. Christina grew up smart, outspoken, friendly, and talented. Despite all that she is slow to get a joke, laughing several minutes after everyone else. (Her favorite jokes: "A man walked into a bar...and it hurt!" and "Why did the monkey fall out of the tree? Because it was dead!" With that reportoire, she'd better keep her day job.) For a person with just about the greatest amount of common sense I have ever met, she still can get lost trying to find items in a grocery store. Try as I might, I can't think of anything else even close to negative to say about her. So anything else I have to say will be nice.
She always worked hard and studied hard. Everything she got she earned. Every obstacle was overcome. While in college at George Washington University, she took up Tae Kwon Do, eventually earning her Black Belt; her instructors said that every time she hit a plateau (which seemed to happen often) she just kept at and kept at it and then would suddenly make a huge improvement. In High School, she toured England, Germany and Austria with her school orchestra. When she was fifteen, she was the youngest student from the school in the Japan foreign exchange program. When she worked at a bakery near D.C., she would take the muffins that were about to be trashed at the end of the day and hand them out to the homeless. While working as an emergency room technician, she often spent hours with dying patients -- not because it was part of her job, but because she felt no one should die alone, and no one did on her watch. As an EMT, she volunteered on an ambulance for over eleven years, always capable, always professional, always compassionate. She served as an adjuct teacher at George Washington University (adjunct teachers are the ones that teach and do not receive benefits) giving instruction in cardiosonography. She's now traveling two and a half hours each way to Baltimore to train as a sign language interpreter.
In her personal life, she met and married a wonderful man, and helped him and cheered him on as he continued his education to move into a technical field. She has two children and is a strict and loving mother. ("I love you and I want you to hug me for a full minute, then I'm going to yell at you because you __[fill in the blank]__." This technique works; the kids are happy, well-adjusted, and well-behaved.) She is active in their school life and in their activities. She and her husband coached a girl's soccer team when no one else would stand up -- even though she had never played soccer before. She spent her thirtieth birthday kayaking with whales in Alaska, her thirty-fifth birthday hiking in Ireland. She feels a responsibility to her pets (three dogs, one cat, one python, two goat, and a continuously changing number of fish), and spent one night last week nursing a sick goat. She recycles. She and her husband take their kids on nature walks. This Easter marked a spur-of-the-moment trip to Atlanta to check out the aquarium there (a whale shark defecated in front of the kids, which impressed them greatly). She donates blood every eight weeks because it's the right thing to do. She's a good person and we are very proud of her.
(Did I mention that she's also beautiful? When she was in her early teens, one actress with whom we worked at a professional theater mistook Christina for her good friend, the actress Jacqueline Bisset.)
(Did I mention she's funny? I think it's the Irish in her, but nobody can tell tell a story like Christina.)
(Did I mention that everybody likes her? Well, no. But nobody can dislike her. And almost everybody loves her.)
(Did I mention that I'm proud of her? I think I have. I can't claim responsibilty for the the type of person she has become, but perhaps I helped. I know my wife had a major input because Christina has the same glow of love and kindess that Kitty does.)
(Did I mention that I had no white hair before she came into my life? 'Tis true. My hair is now snowy white. Any correlation, I wonder? Christina does take pride in giving me grief.)
So, Happy Birthday, Christina! I love you.