While everyone else is thinking about the big election today, I've got my daughter on my mind because today is her 22nd birthday. The year she turned 18 election day was on November 4th and she was devastated to be so close but unable to vote. At the polling place this morning I held open the door for a young mother pushing a stroller and I was also reminded of the day I first voted in 1992 because I was pushing Katrina in a stroller myself. Today Katrina is driving to St. Cloud, Minnesota to look into a grad school program...she's come a long way!
|First sheep encounter....|
|..but not her last sheep encounter!|
For the most part she enjoyed quiet activities like reading and playing dress-up, and when she went to school she was eager to make new friends, but also very shy. She was also a little nervous about trying new things that seemed a little scary, but we supported her and encouraged her to keep spreading her wings and facing her fears.
|Meeting Alan Doyle from Great Big Sea at Irishfest in Milwaukee was a big deal!|
Joining 4-H was a turning point for Katrina. 4-H helped develop her confidence, and it wasn't long before she discovered she had a knack for helping and leading others. At the age of 12 she was elected president of her club, and she learned a lot from the responsibilities that the club leader gave her. 4-H isn't all agendas and Robert's Rules of Order, and she made friends and had a lot of fun both at the club and at the county level. I'm so grateful that we found 4-H because it helped her blossom into the confident young women that she is today.
|goofy fashion for the Looking Good project|
|rainy County Fair day|
|The Cat Project was her favorite, she was a Youth leader at the county level and helped the judges one year, too.|
The other skill that she took away from 4-H was acting through their annual Dramafest competition. She participated a couple of times, and after leaving 4-H she eventually auditioned for local community theater through The Haylofters in Burlington. Whether working backstage, acting onstage, or directing the children's production of Wizard of Oz one year, she enjoyed it all.
|Katrina as Emma Duckworth in The Haylofters' production of Bus Stop|
It's the sense of enthusiasm, caring for others and big heart that has remained unchanged all these years. She's had her share of obstacles: schoolyard bullies and adult figures who disappointed her with their lack of good judgment and leadership, but through it all she's retained her optimism and her determination. Anyone who knows her is lucky to have the opportunity to see the world through her eyes, the world she is determined to help make a better place for others.
Today is my Katrina's birthday, and while I sometimes miss my little girl who danced around singing PBS songs in her nightgown I'm also happy to have such an inspiring adult daughter. There's a possibility that I might be working less hours soon, and as I left the polling place this morning and watched that mother loading her kids into the car I contemplated how I might help others in my community if I have more time on my hands. On her birthday she's given me a gift: I want to be like Katrina when I grow up!