It was in Oxford, Mississippi sixteen springtimes ago that the most beautiful baby girl with thick, black hair and bright blue eyes was placed into my arms. Without question it was love at first sight. She squinted up at me, I looked back at her and for one moment the world stopped. I must have been enjoying the painkillers injected into my IV, because during a visit with friends several hours later I declared while staring at this most perfect creation that I could not wait to do it again.
Several sleepless weeks later those words still held true. Never had anyone been born in my heart, but Madeline Taylor and her sweet, peaceful disposition and quick smile planted itself firmly in that special spot. Sixteen years later she still resides there; this once quiet, even-keeled child who blossomed into the most dynamic, beautiful, and worldly young woman.
It is a delight to see who she is continuing to become, perfectly imperfect, though always completely herself. Athletic, confident, she carries herself with the happiest smile and the driest humor, her heart as gold as the balloons above. She's continued to be as easy-going now as she was as a child, kind, genuine, and giving as can be. But the reason that my heart melts with every hug is that she is still that most perfect creation. She is taller than me, wiser and smarter in most respects than I was at 16, and it's true that she still has many roads to travel, but I can look at her the same way I did sixteen years ago today and if I'm lucky, catch one of those little moments that seem to last forever.
Happy birthday, my darling girl. Today is your day!