Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Wednesday, August 28, 2019


Twenty-three years ago I took on a new role.  No longer was I just a husband and father, for the first time I was a grandfather.  I think this was a role I was ready for all my life.  Catherine Delaney Dowd was a quiet and serene newborn, swaddled so tightly I was amazed at the nurses' skills.  From the get-go she was a happy baby -- just happy to be here, just happy to be.  This beautiful child melted our hearts and became part of us forever.  I was willing to call her Laney, for a cherished cousin of mine who had passed away way too early.  But everyone else was determined to call her Cayley, a "combination of her first and middle names.  But nobody settled on the "proper" to spell the name, so she was variously Cayley, Caylee, Kayley, Kaylee, and probably a  dozen other riffs on the name.  (Proper name spelling has become very creative.  Just read a list the names of recent high school graduates in you community.)  Somewhere along the line, she settled for Ceili (an Irish word for dance) and although she has moved on from that spelling, I haven't.  Lately she has been going by Della, taken from her middle name, but for me she always be Ceili.

The smiling, laughing child took a backseat to a fearful one after she watched her father die from a sudden heart attack when she was nine.  That trauma will probably remain with her for the rest of her life, but she has built upon it to become a righteous warrior, compassionately and fiercely defending the underdog and the ones who are marginalized by society.  She has also grown up to have a wicked sense of humor (wonder where that came from).  She's super smart and knows more about history than I do and even than Kitty (a history major) does.  She's a fangirl and knows everything about The Lord of the Rings, Marvel movies and comics, and just about every cultural phenomena of the last two decades.  She is personable and has gained respect from everyone she has worked with.  Each time I see her, I think there's a huge balloon has  just appeared over my head saying, "I'm so proud."

To say that we love her underestimates our feelings.

Happy  birthday, pretty girl.

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