On the eighteenth birthday of my stepdaughter, A.

My stepdaughter, A., continual bringer of joy, turns eighteen years old today. A few of you have been reading about her since the days of the beautifully and artfully burned pancakes, the puppet Wikipedia, and the giraffe in the wineglass, since The Gashlycrumb Tinies debacle, the Mythic Creatures disappointment, and the Hurricane Charley near-miss.

You’ve suggested books for her and followed our travels and learned of our shared loathing for Amy in Little Women. So I thought you’d like to know.

If I could, I’d show you some of her poetry, but she’s private about that. So here we are descending the stairs in New Orleans last winter. Isn’t her umbrella fabulous?


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