My baby girl celebrates yet another birthday today, a beautiful, intelligent, empathetic, and talented woman whom I remember as a beautiful, intelligent, empathetic. and talented little girl. Where has the time gone?
Well, the time has gone to a wonderful husband and three magnificent children: quiet Mark, with his understated and genuinely funny sense of humor, giggly Erin, who is smart enough to take on the world and win, and the ever-active, ever sweet Kangaroo, who has reached the Terrible Twos a few months early while maintaining the ability to charm everyone he meets. [As many of you know the Kangaroo is a foster child who has been with Christina and Walt since he was six weeks old. They hope to officially adopt him soon, and when that happens...PARTY!]
And the time has gone to a series of careers, all of which somehow involve helping people. From ambulance driver to EMT to Paramedic, to a medical technician who could make an emergency room run smoothly and who would sit with dying people because no one should die alone, and to an echo cardiologist whose skill has helped save many lives. For the past several years she has been training to be a sign language interpreter, going to school in Baltimore (a two-hour trip each way) while continuing to work, maintain a home, raise kids and a bevy of animals, be active in all the sports and activities the kids are involved in, and also be involved in the Kangaroo's special needs. When nominations for Wonder Woman are open, be sure to remember Christina's name.
Southern Maryland is a great place for Christina and her family. The kids roam the woods, fish in the lake at the end of the street, and everybody enjoys the short walk to the Chesapeake for swimming and kayaking. Museums, aquariums, and zoos are all within easy reach. But Christina and Walt also like things a bit more adventurous. (Christina is fairly well-traveled. In high school she went to Germany, Austria, and England as well as being an exchange student in Japan.) She and Walt have been to Italy and have explored ruins in Belize. Ten years ago they went kayaking in Alaska, five years ago it was driving through Ireland (with those roads, it was an adventure), and this summer they and Mark and Erin are going to the Galapagos.
Things don't necessarily come easy for Christina. She has had to work hard, whether it was for her black belt in tae kwon do or the careers she has mastered. What she sets her mind to she does. You are unlikely to find a more determined person (a trait that can also be found in young Erin, who may someday rule the world).
I hope Christina has a fantastic birthday today. I know she has a fantastic year ahead of her. And many more fantastic years to come.
Am I proud of her? Damned straight.
And do I love her?
What do you think?