As my daughter and I were coming home from an event two days ago, she spotted a crumpled $20 bill leaning against a tree and shouted with joy. She quickly picked up the money and did a little happy dance. We looked around to see if anyone was scrambling around looking for lost money or fumbling through their pockets or purses, but nobody seemed to be missing it. As we walked down the street, my daughter began discussing all the things she wanted to do with her found money. We walked down the stairs to the subway and chatted about the event that we attended and looked through our swag bag as we found a seat on the subway car.
As we rolled along, the door at the back of our subway car opened up and a man with a deformed hand stepped through the door. He began to walk through the car begging for money and food. My daughter reached into her purse and pulled out the crumpled $20 bill and placed the money into the man’s hand. As he opened his hand to look at the green paper, his eyes opened wide. I could tell he wanted to hug my daughter, but he fought the urge to do so. “Thank you… thank you” he said quickly. The door to the train opened up and we walked out and headed home. Within seconds of reaching the sidewalk, I grabbed my daughter and gave her a gigantic hug. When I pulled away from her, she said, “I didn’t do anything to get that money and he didn’t do anything to get that hand.”
Today is my daughter’s 9th birthday. I have written several times about her entry into the world. It was one of the most difficult days of my life. She came into this world purple and lifeless. In those first few seconds of her life, as the doctors and nurses worked to resuscitate and stabilize her, I reached out and rubbed her foot and begged her, “Breathe Miciah, breathe.” And her chest began to slowly expand and relax.
The first year of her life was a quiet one. Her vocal chords were not strong and her cries sounded more like a kitten’s meow. Thankfully now, there is nothing quiet about her. She’s her own person – fiercely independent and strong-willed, and with a voice to match her passion.
Raising a strong-willed, energetic child is sometimes difficult. My daughter has a fiery temper and a passion to see justice served. But I see the beauty in my daughter’s fierceness and the overwhelming amount of compassion and mercy that drives her mission for justice. I am proud of who she is and hopeful for who she will become. My wife and I joke often that the day after she reaches 18, she’ll be on a plane somewhere – off to save the world.
Trying to direct my daughter’s passions and personality hasn’t always been easy, but it has been a joy to watch her grow up. Life kept her from being heard in her early days of life, but nobody will ever quiet her again… about anything. And moments on the subway show me that I don’t have to worry about directing her, she’s doing just fine.
Happy Birthday, baby girl.
Other inspirations about my daughter: