My Fire Opal

Today Rebecca, you reached 16. As an October baby, your birthstone, as you know, is the opal.

I am not sure you think about it much. You just gloat a bit that unlike your mother and two of your sisters, you aren’t stuck with the August birthstone.

I’ve thought about it a lot this week though as I planned your birthday and birthday post. No, no opals for your gift. We’ve another tradition for sixteen in this family.

But I give you opals in this post. How? Let me tell you.

First, I will say that at one point in my life, I wanted an opal ring more than anything and ended up buying one for myself. What does that have to do with you? I wanted a child just like you more than anything too.

Like an opal, you express so many colors and evoke so many feelings, you baffle nearly everyone. It’s a bit of trickery really. Those layers with their hidden colors, the ones that show and the ones far below. We often wish for the straightforward with you, but you beguile with the contradiction and depths. You surprise us in the shallow-those bits of color to throw us off the deeper parts of you.

Yes, we know, that like an opal you are fragile, easily chipped, and hold onto the injury. You often compare yourself to a sweet with a delicate candy shell. Nay, you are the opal, delicate but when cracked shows a new kind of beauty underneath. I want to smooth those things and keep all intact some days. Other days, I know that these experiences will show you and the world what truly is precious about the authentic you.

You shine with a certain phosphorescence. The sparkle, the confusing light that reflects the good and bad in the world around you.

This year, your father remarried and I spent a good long time looking at the wedding pictures on Facebook. Sure, I loved seeing photos of family members I’ve not seen in years. I enjoyed seeing people that your father went to school with and worked with, because they had a big part in my life. I enjoyed a peek at the new relatives you have now. Did I read in their faces that they would cherish my children? Could I see if they knew that your father is particularly important?

Really though, I looked at the pictures to see you and two of your siblings. It was easy to spot pictures with you in them. You stood out in a way so unconsciously beautiful. I have several favorites, but there is one of you talking to a friend in front of the church after the service that shows what I say better than anything else. It’s a huge crowded scene, one where it should be more “Where’s Waldo?” than an actual photo of any one person. There you are though, on the steps, and your beauty and exuberance bubbles out of the picture. Amazing. The fire. The light. The compelling beauty contained with in that shows a bit on the surface.

We will fit some birthday time into your fire fueled schedule. You remain ever complex, layered, intriguing and different in every light. Every day of every year, I remain ever enthralled looking at and through the layers, the colors, the chipped and the smooth.

Happy birthday baby girl.

%d bloggers like this: