Happy Birthday, Lauren!

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Today is a day like any other around the Farm, brimming with people all fighting for my attention as we close in on the last part of the first phase of construction.  The roofer is here to fix the barn after Florence cut her swath across Virginia, not that we didn’t have a few leaks already, but with inches of rain poured from the heavens our old barn roof met her match.  Cement was poured for a new patio, steps installed to the front door, something I have been dreaming of since I first saw this lovely old house.  We hung a new chandelier in the dining room and moved furniture that has been moved a time or two before; I am afraid to admit.

However, today isn’t like any other day at all because today is my daughter Lauren’s birthday and it reminds me of how much one person can change another person’s life forever.  When she came into my life, I had no idea what motherhood meant.  I had no idea that she would quickly grow into a determined child set on a specific path from the time she was three years old.  From her first glimpse at the San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker when she sat at the edge of her seat mesmerized by the dancers and a giant Christmas tree coming to life before her eyes, she knew exactly where she was headed.  She hasn’t looked back since.  

Neither one of us could have predicted the arc life would take with that decision.  With God-given talent, a tremendous amount of hard work and sacrifice on her part she would leave home shortly before her 12th birthday to study classical ballet, travel the world, collect friends at all four corners of the earth and land right back where it all started.  A place she, her husband, and their adorable English Bulldog Orson, now call home.

I cherish her not only because she is my daughter but because she never approaches anything in a half-hearted attempt.  Her training as a dancer only reinforced an innate belief that being good at something isn’t the same as being great at something.   Greatness takes work that most of us mere mortals aren’t willing to do.  Her appreciation for greatness in dance, art, choreography, music and a whole slew of other areas like quantum physics to baking means an eclectic group of friends surrounds her despite a life spent in ballet studios and theaters.

As a mother, I learned early on that to give her the life she dreamt of, was driven to, I had to let her go.  First to summer school, then boarding school, then abroad and in short, except for a stint at home recovering from an injury, it meant she would never live under my roof again.  A decision many around me didn’t understand or agree with, but one I knew was the best for her.  Lauren taught me how to let go, step aside and let life unfold in the way it was meant to be.  Not an easy lesson or one I could have ever imagined I would have had to learn so early in my life as a mother. 

Now and then when I see her up on stage, this beautiful, shockingly talented woman I see that little girl who has taught me so very much about love and letting go.  So today, I think about how fortunate I was on this the day she was born.

Happy Birthday, Lauren!

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Camilla Strongin