there's nothing like one of my kids' birthdays to make me step back (sometimes in Shock and Awe) and really think about who they were, who they are, and who they will be. the redhead recently celebrated her seventeenth and i am awed most of all at who she is. before we adopted and she was still the baby of the family, i often said that she was God's reward for having four. the older three quickly incorporated her into their games as a sort of charming, animated toy; and she always went along with it with a grin on her face. (if i weren't buried in Christmas and work, and lazy) we have photos of her in her crib where you can hardly see her face among all the stuffed buddies they've thrown in with her. although she has days where she makes me long for a remedial course in following through, there isn't anything or anyone that i would trade this one for.