My lovely girl turns 14 this weekend.
Sunday. September 11.
She turned 4 the day terrorists attacked our country, and every year since her celebrations have been under the cloud of the horrible events of that day.
When she started school, the morning routine was for every birthday child to be called to the principal’s office and get a special birthday pencil. Except on September 11, when opted for a moment of silence instead.
Certainly these remembrances are important and appropriate. But it still kind of sucks to be a kindergartener waiting for your big birthday pencil moment that never comes.
So this weekend, as the 10-year tributes blanket the country, we are headed out to the coast to camp on the beach. We’ll hunt shells instead of watch TV, build sand castles instead of seeing towers fall. It’s not that we don’t care, but we will honor those lost by seeking peace and joy.
But before we head out, we are eating some birthday cake, and celebrating the girl who brings color and joy to our lives every single day. Even on September 11.
My rainbow cake rendition is
a little lopsided the leaning tower of Cake-za. But the surprise when she cut into it was awesome. I hope this weekend, you and yours are also surprised by rainbows in the middle of storms
If you want to make the cake, you can see a way better version of it here at Whisk Kid.
We spent a drizzly afternoon in Bastrop State Park a couple of years ago, hiking the trail, collecting pine cones, watching for deer and lizards and mushrooms peeking through the pine needle carpet.
But mostly, I looked up, at the towering Loblolly Pines. They aren’t really supposed to be there. The closest stand of pines like them is more than 100 miles away. No matter. Somehow these pines settled in and flourished.
To a northern California girl who has never quite gotten used to the short trees of South Texas, they felt like old friends.
Now, the pines are burning, in one of Texas’ most devastating wildfires. Half of Bastrop State Park has been charred, and flames have consumed close to five hundred homes. I can’t even stand to see the pictures of the devastation, the still-burning flames that are destroying everything in their path.
So I shut my eyes and pray for rain.
The trees will come back, I know. 95 percent of Loblolly Pine root systems survive a forest fire and new seedlings spring forth. But they will not tower again in my lifetime like they did that October afternoon when I looked up at a cloudy sky framed in the needles of giants.
Want to help?
The Red Cross is taxed to the limits helping victims of these fires, and storms Lee and Irene. If you can spare it, text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. My friend Heather at Geekette Bits has a great roundup of other ways to help at her blog here: Austin-Bastrop Fire Directions.