I have a brother who celebrates his birthday during the Christmas season and he suffered a little as a child, feeling his day was washed out by the bigger celebration of Christmas. Since my daughter shares his birthday I have always been conscious of the challenge and maybe more attuned to her birthday in certain ways. Regardless, today is Emma’s eighteenth birthday — a big deal in it’s own way — Christmas being near or not.
So, we will celebrate her today in ways appreciated by her – french fries and chicken fingers, ice cream cake…but I also felt inspired to emulate a famous poem in Emma’s honour: Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s How do I love thee? And I do love you Emma. Happy Birthday, Sweetie.
A Sonnet for Emma
How do I love you? Let me count the ways.
I love you surprised by your first breath,
separate from me – helpless, but at rest
and still resting, bonded in my heart space.
I love each contour of your now familiar face
expressing joy, anger or tentative request.
I love you softly, without any words expressed.
I love you loudly, cheering by your side always.
I love you too with tears and with sorrow
that have added to our growth and grace.
I love you by learning to let you grow
beyond my expectations, (like tiny seeds)
beyond my fierce love, (like rains that soak)
and if God choose, beyond me too.
© 2017 – Laurel Archer
Photo credits: Laurel Archer