I remember this day 24 years ago. It was a Saturday. My then husband and I were just finishing the touch-up painting on the walls of the room that would become our eldest daughter's new bedroom. The arrival of her sibling was expected in two weeks but as I tidied up the paint supplies I realized the newborn might have a plan of their own. They might want to do this their way.
And she did. Do it her way.
And she does. Do it her way.
And she is. Amazing.
Twenty-four years ago on this day, at 10:16pm, Liseanne came into this world her way -- on her schedule, even while I was sleeping. The birth was by C-section and because there was a nurse's strike on, I could not be awake for the taking her from my womb part of her arrival into this world.
I may have slept through her birth but believe me, there has been no time to sleep through her presence in this world.
Liseanne does life her way and that means, sometimes, I spend my time worrying about where she is, what she's doing, what's happening in her life.
And I needn't. Worry.
She may do life on her terms, but they are always terms of endearment. Of love. Of beauty. Of truth and honest. Humility and respect.
Even as a child, Liseanne cared deeply about her fellow inhabitants on planet earth. From earth worms to sky-rockets, Liseanne wanted to know everything about what was happening, why it was happening and what could she do to make it happen, better, kinder, more caring.
At school, Liseanne was the protectress of the under-dog, the defender of human rights. She stood up to bullies, to teachers, to authority. She stood up for what was right, just, equal. "It isn't fair," became her mantra. "The teacher shouldn't have picked on that girl, mom," a common refrain when I was called to the school to pick her up early after 'speaking back' to the teacher. Again.
"I want my daughters' to have strong voices," I told the Principal. "I want them to stand up for what is right and not be silent in the face of abuse. And what better place to practice their voice than in school?"
"She needs to respect the teachers," the 'authority figure' replied.
"How she treats people is a reflection of who she is because how she treats people is a measurement of her, not them," I replied. "However, respecting them is another matter. And when they behave in ways that are cruel, that cause other people harm, it isn't about her respecting them. It is about her finding ways to express her responses respectfully. She does not need to respect anyone, however, who treats others with less than respect."
It was an oft repeated discussion. With my daughters. And those in authority. Liseanne always stood up for the underdog, for those who were being taken advantage of, for those who were being picked on. And it always got her in trouble at school.
She has a voice and she uses it.
It is her way.
To stand firm when others would bend. To speak up when others would fall silent. To listen when others would cry. To feel when others would hurt.
It is her way.
And I am so blessed to celebrate 24 years of Liseanne's way of living life on her terms. With passion, flare, laughter and Love.
Happy Birthday my darling daughter.
May you always live life your way.