Another year has past a few changes have happened.
A year ago we were living in Southern Maryland with no expectation of moving. Then Christina took us aside and asked if we'd like to move to Florida. Walt was thinking of getting a job in Pensacola and, if they were going to move, this would be a good year to do so, but they would still need help with the kids. So everybody moved to Florida. (Well, not everybody; Jessamyn and Amy are still in Massachusetts but will be moving down in July after Amy's graduation.)
All the things I have written about Christina in the past still hold true, but this year I hold her accountable for the Florida sunshine and warmth. The move has allowed her to hone her sign language interpreting skills -- there's far more work available here than there was in Southern Maryland -- and to keep up with her cardiosonography skills. All their soapmaking equipment has made the move south and Cove Lake Soapworks is now in the process of developing custom candles. Walt is able to keep busy at work and still have time for a jillion fun projects around the house. Erin has made many friends and loves it down here, even though she's nervous about going into high school. Mark is getting more serious about running and has done well in several half marathons, as well as in shorter races; he'll be doing his first full marathon this November. The Kangaroo is thriving -- he's socializing well in his pre-school and in his soccer and swimming lessons. The animals have also coped well with the transition. Sadly, they lost their hedgehogs, but they did gain a tegu to join the dogs, cats, python, bearded dragon, and tortoise. Christina has discovered the white sands of Pensacola Beach and just last week saw her first dolphin swimming in Pensacola Bay; this week she saw her first sea turtle.
Life is good.
Christina is able to juggle many balls successfully while remaining the same warm, caring person she has always been. (If you remember, while working as an ER tech. she would sit with dying patients because no one should die alone.) She's clear-headed, determined, empathetic, smart, and talented.
When Christina was three-years-old, my father told us, "Always put your money on that one." He was right and I'm sad he never got to see the wonderful woman she has become.
A father is allowed to be proud of his children and I am so proud of both my girls. But today, I celebrate Christina's awesomeness.
Happy birthday, darling. I love you.