September 26, 2005
Your birthday comes to tell me this
— each luckiest of lucky days
i’ve loved,shall love,do love you,was
— E.E. Cummings
Evelyn Rose DeAngelis turns twenty years old today. She appears at left two years ago as she began her senior year in high school. The long hair is gone now, but the smile remains, bright and ready and confident. I’ve written about her before on her birthday. In 1999 this journal was new and I wasn’t posting pictures yet. By 2001, however, I was. She was 16 then, and I wondered what had happened to that funny face. At Halloween that year I wrote about all the costumes I’d ever made for her. In 2002 I wrote about Lynn in June rather than in the fall. And in 2003 I updated the Halloween saga with a shot of the last costume I’d ever make for her.
She’s a sophomore in college now. This is the first year I wasn’t physically with her on her birthday, although we saw her on Saturday at a field hockey game two and a half hours away. That morning I’d dropped off her grandmother’s engagment ring (given 70 years ago next month) at the town’s best jeweler to be professionally checked and cleaned for her. Today she received the ice cream cake I’d arranged for from the university’s women’s athletic department fund raiser. She called with her thanks and the thanks of her wonderful young friends shouted in the background.
In 1999 I said of the version of her at right, “I used to say in those days that I wanted to find the magic pill that would keep her four years old forever. I said that when she was two, and six, and every other age she’s passed through. And every year I tell her that it’s good I didn’t find the magic pill, because I like the person she is this year as much as I did the one she was before.”
That’s still true. I miss the funny face, and the baby words (“twammo,’ and “bagetti,” and “Our Father, who art in heaven, hello to your name”), and the energy and the joy that her presence, even when she’s sleeping, brings to this house. But she is where she needs to be, doing what she needs to do. And each day that I know her is the luckiest of lucky days for me.