I had intended to post this yesterday when she turned 22 but, as often happens, things got out of control.
Let me tell you about our oldest grandchild.
The night she was born, Michael was too nervous to drive her to Georgetown University Hospital, so we followed them in our car. Although the rattled dad-to-be tried to make a few wrong turns, we made it the hospital in plenty of time. Well, that's depends on your definition of plenty. I went to the registration office to sign Jessie in while everyone else headed to the delivery floor; by the time I was finished, Catherine Delaney Dowd was born -- a perfect baby.
She was quiet, calm, happy to be held, and looking around as if to say, hello, world, I'm so glad to be here. As the weeks and months past, we (and by "we" I mean just about anybody who saw her) realized The she was happy to be.
Michael and Jessie had already decided to call her Caylee, blending her two first names. But how to spell it? I mean, this is a name that can have about a jillion different spellings, right? So the spelling of her name changed as she grew up, trying one spelling, then another. Finally, a number of years ago she settled on Ceili -- pronounced the same but is an old Gaelic word for an Irish folk dance. But she also adopted nicknames various friends had given her over the years, lately settling on Della, taken from her middle name. She uses Della in her business and on her facebook, but I'm a traditionalist s I still call her Ceili and also spell it Ceili.
Whatever name she uses, she's given us 22 years (and counting) of absolute joy.
She is smart, funny, sweet, compassionate, and quick to fight any injustice. She is very protective of her mother and her sister and, now the Jessie is fighting cancer, she is even more protective about her family. (Did I mention loyalty in the first sentence of this paragraph?) She tolerates my sense of humor but if she needs advice she gets it from either her mother or from Kitty.
She has formed a very special bond with the Kangaroo, her six-year-old cousin. He loves her hugs and really appreciates her patience.
I know everyone thinks (or should think) their grandkids are special, but ours are special-er, none more so than the wonderful, gorgeous, one-of-a-kind Ceili. We are so proud to have her in our lives.
So here's to another year of awesomeness. And many more to follow.
We love you.