Friday, January 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Lele!

Our birthdays are feathers in the broad wing of time. Jean Paul Richter

Today is my youngest daughter, Liseanne's, 21st birthday. Twenty-one years ago today, she burst into the world, a bundle of energy, her eyes wide open, looking for where the action is. Twenty-one years after her joyous arrival, she's still a bundle of energy, still looking for where the action is, and if there isn't any happening, she'll create it!

Witty, intelligent, kind, Lele, as we call her at home, has a caring heart, a curious mind, and a searching spirit. At 21, she is a wise soul, forever seeing what other's can't see, forever stepping where other's are afraid to go. Always caring for those who no longer care about themselves or need encouragement to find their way again.

When Lele was a little girl, she always wanted to know what was behind 'that door'. What's that mean? A curious child (in more ways than one!), she constantly challenged me with questions about everything. Sometimes Lele would ask a question I didn't have the answer to. I'd make up the most ridiculous answer I could and she would laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh.

Lele loves stories. Hearing them and creating them. One of my favourites that she created was about 'the littlest dinosaur in the world'. Smaller than a sparrow's egg, Lele had found the egg in the garden. She brought it into the house and warmed and nurtured it until it hatched and out popped a miniature dinosaur. I remember sitting on her bed, listening to her tell me the story as she danced around her bedroom, one moment being the dinosaur, the other a fearful predator. The littlest dinosaur didn't believe it could take care of itself. Lele taught him how.

She loves to dance. Her favourite was to have me pick her up and spin and spin and spin and spin. She loved music and song and clapping loud and stomping her feet hard. She is an enthusiastic audience of one and a believer in giving it her all, throwing herself into the dance and moving beyond the music into that place where hearts pound joyously and spirits soar freely.

Lele believed in the Law of Attraction long before the Secret made it 'au courant'. When she was about six, she wanted a piano. As a single mom and a freelance writer, a piano was not in my budget. I tried to gently tell her that 'it wasn't going to appear' under the Christmas tree, but Lele had other ideas. One day, I watched her as she moved through the living room, intently measuring out spaces along the wall.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Trying to figure out where the piano's going to go," she replied, her small feet carefully stepping out the paces.

"And which piano's that?"

She stopped pacing. Turned and smiled at me. "The one we're getting for Christmas."

A week later, while typing up the School newsletter which I did every second week for the girls' school, there was an item in the Parents' Corner: Wanted. A home for a piano for one year.

A family were going away for a year, putting everything in storage but didn't want to put their piano away.

It was the first call I made that day.

The piano arrived a week later.

Throughout her life Lele has surprised us with her ability to see what isn't visible to the eye, hear the notes beneath the notes, and feel the tears behind the words and actions of others. She will hold fast to a thought or an idea, never letting go like a tensile cable holding onto a bridge. And then, in the same breath, she will release a rigid position, embrace a new idea, push aside a limiting belief and spread her wings to see how high she can fly.

She loves to 'play silly', to dance in public spaces, to laugh and sing (okay, we encourage her to dance more), to create stories that will lift flagging spirits and to share her love fearlessly -- and she loves to make the world laugh with her!

One day, while the three of us were eating in a restaurant in downtown Calgary with one of their girlfriends, Lele created a neck piece and a new hat out of serviettes. We left the restaurant with Lele proudly wearing her masterpiece. As she walked down the avenue, she could have been strutting the catwalk of a high fashion runway in Paris. Her confidence and sense of fun are inspiring. Our laughter had us doubled over as cars drove by honking their horns, their drivers laughing with us -- or possibly at us! But Lele didn't care. She wanted to make the world 'feel good'.

Lele never gives up. Fiercely loyal, she never lets go of a friend and never gives into despair. She is a soaring spirit, a loving heart and a forgiving soul. She looks out for those who cannot look out for themselves and lifts up those who have forgotten they have wings.

She is, a beautiful young woman of great spirit. She is my daughter. And I am very, very proud of her.

As a mother, Lele makes my heart sing. I am always in awe of the bond between her and her sister, Alexis. They are both fiercely loyal, always caring, always loving. "We are each others best friend," they attest, and then argue over who loves the other most -- "If you let me borrow that blue sweater I'll let you love me more," says clever Lele. They can fight like any sibling, but they will always make-up, always understand and care about how the other feels. And even in the depths of their anger, they know, there is no one in the world they love more than each other. No one they count on more than each other.

My life is blessed because of this young woman who soars so gently through my days, reminding me that hearts are to be touched with loving hands and minds opened with caring words and gentle voices.

Lele and her sister, mother and aunties! January 29, 2009


B said...

That was a beautiful story--thank you for sharing!

i am storm. said...

your daughter is lucky to have a mother who loves her so completely. it sounds like you have a wonderful family and that you know it, appreciate it and cherish it.

happy birthday lele!


Anonymous said...

Cheers to you Lele, wishing you a blissful birthday!
I raise my coffee cup to you!
with love,
PS: beautiful, brilliant, bang on missive about a very cute, caring, giving, gifted, talented, intelligent, inspirational, accomplished, exceptional and lovely young lass ..

Anonymous said...

Tears come to my eyes as I read how wonderful your daughter is in your eyes. How blessed you are and how blessed she is to know how special she is to you.

Beautiful photos. Thank you for sharing them.