Olivia turns 13 today. A soccer tournament got her home last night at 11:45pm and so she stayed up until midnight to ring in her birthday. We hugged for a long time, and I tried to hide my tears as I remembered this day 13 years ago. I thought of Arron's face when he first held her tightly swaddled body: "the bullet" we called her. He looked tired, as we had been up for two nights in a row, but completely absorbed in her tiny face.
As I do on every one of the kids birthdays, I can't help wondering what he would make of his kids now, how proud he would be of them. Thirteen seems like such a rite of passage, especially given the number of Bat Mitzvas Olivia has attended in the past few months. I wonder what she misses by not having her father to guide the way. I try not to make this a sad day, and yet I get hit with waves of sadness despite myself. I just try to comfort myself with the idea that perhaps Arron can see what a beautiful, wonderful, charismatic woman his daughter is growing up to be.