Happy Birthday, Danika! 9 Years of Adventure, Creativity, Music, and Love

9 years ago I was thrilled to discover that my second child would be a girl. Emily was thrilled that we now had both genders so she wouldn't need to be pregnant again. There was an excitement when I held her in my arms and knew she'd always be my princess. Little did I know the adventure that I would go on as her dad. Everett was an amazing first child, but he didn't prepare for the delightful craziness that is Danika.   

I think I can count on one hand how many times Danika has gone to bed without bargaining for one more snack, story, or game of hide and seek (a game that sometimes I may not even be aware I'm playing).

When Danika was younger, it was gambling that would shock Las Vegas if I dared to leave her in a room by herself for just a minute. I have couches seasoned in cinnamon, drawers used as ladders, and lipstick spread in any place possible to prove this.

A younger Danika also proved books worked for both reading and snacking.

Everett still has some battle scars from when he dared to provoke her, and her bedroom is a warzone (with many mines waiting to twist an ankle if you dare enter it).

But. . . 

She has also put on several musicals that were created on the spot to entertain us at night,

There has never been an object that she couldn't turn into a piece of art or become some magical item on one of her adventures.

She tells stories that rival anything a bestseller could come up with, but you sometimes may need to clarify if it is fiction.

She has an internal emotion radar where she senses when someone is having a bad day and immediately is there with a hug.

Danika is filled with compassion, creativity, kindness, energy, imagination, joy, music, thoughtfulness, intelligence, and love. She inspires me every day to be a better person by spreading love to as many people as possible and always daring to think outside the box.

She is destined for great things, and people who aren't as biased as me have shared that opinion.

It has been a pure joy watching her instantly make friends wherever she goes, turning a cereal box into a majestic palace, continuing to push herself to be the best at school, grow as a cello player, and shine on the stage with the various theatre programs and productions.

My life with Danika has been magic, and I can't wait to see what is next. 

Happy Birthday Danika! I love you forever and ever.