Happy Birthday Danika: 8 Years of Adventure, Imagination, Attitude, Kindness, Mischievousness, and Love


Often when Emily or I talk about Danika it is usually a story that details her attitude or mischievousness, because we are never lacking in such stories. Part of the reason it stands out to us comes from her being so different than Everett.

Danika was a reality check, and the child to keep us humble, just in case we wanted to brag about our parenting prowess with Everett.

I could set Everett in front of some toys and books while I did some writing, and know that he would be nearby the whole time. When I tried the same tactic with Danika, I'd look away from my computer and see scattered toys and partly chewed books, but no Danika. I'd soon find her either seasoning the couch with the salt she found, using the pantry drawers as ladders to access the treats, or trying out a laundry basket as a sled.

Danika is the type of kid that would say that I get a time out because I dared to tell her that she lost screen time today. She often would declare that it is now 'hitting time' when Everett wouldn't stop teasing her. She once told me that she knew she did something wrong but it was late and we weren't going to talk about it until the morning, and I'm pretty sure that was the earliest she was willing to go to bed ever.

But what doesn't get mentioned enough about Danika, but one would figure out within ten minutes of meeting her, is that she is one of the kindest, sweetest and most loving people you will ever meet. She has a special emotion radar where she knows when you're sad or upset, and she always there to give you a hug or make you laugh. The moment she discovers something bad has happened to a person, she rushes to make them a card or one of her other amazing creations.

Danika has taught me to be a more compassionate, kind, empathetic, and loving person. Danika knows more people and has more friends than I've ever had in my life, because people feel good and loved when they are with Danika. She thinks nothing about striking up a conversation with a stranger, and is always ready to make a new friend.

When I drop off Danika to school every morning, I hear screams echoing throughout the playground, 'Danika! Danika! Danika is here!' and then a flock of children descend upon her. Sometimes a few more boys than this dad is comfortable with, and I try to ignore the news of the apparent crushes on her that are scattering throughout her class. Danika brings joy wherever she goes.

Danika is the type of kid that gives me hope for the future, because she is resolute in making a positive change, and spreading as much love as possible. Her approach to this world inspires me every day.

I also love how imaginative and creative she has become. She loves to tell stories. She loves to create various forms of beautiful art. She can spend entire days in a world of imagination. I love that she is always willing to share her creations with others. During Covid lockdown, she would put on performances for us, and it brought daily joys during a time that was pretty hard.

I'm so blessed and proud to call Danika my daughter. She has made my life magical and beautiful. While I am in no rush for her to grow up, it is a true gift being on this journey with her and see her become a magnificent woman.

Happy Birthday, Danika! I love you so much!