Archive for July, 2011

Today is my daughter Karen’s birthday. While looking through my computer this morning, I found this little speech I gave at Karen’s 21st  Birthday Party, which took place six months after her real birthday. Those words still reflect my feelings about her, especially now that she has become mother to a wonderful little girl just like herself.


I’ve known Karen for a long time—you can say from the beginning. One thing that everyone who knows  Karen would agree is that Karen always knows what she wants. And this happened from Day One. Even though the doctor predicted that she would be born in late June, Karen decided otherwise. It was a long wait in the July heat of Toronto. Karen decided to arrive three weeks later. You see, nothing has changed, 21 years later, Karen still has her birthday exactly when she wants it—six months  later…

Apart from being amazingly independent, even when she was a baby, Karen has always known how to stand her ground against aggression and intimidation.  One incident when she was in infant day-care illustrates this: little five-month-old Anthony got a nasty scrach on his nose because he grabbed some toy that Karen was playing with.

However, Karen’s ability to stand her own  ground is not incompatible with her boundless generosity. As many of you would agree, Karen is one of the most generous people known to the world. Apart from buying postage stamps to write to her huge number of pen-pals, she used to spend all her pocket money on gifts for her friends.

There’s no need to detail Karen’s academic and artistic achievements, which are well known in this company. As her mother, one thing I’ve always appreciated about Karen is her capacity for delight in the simple things in life. As a child and later as an adolescent, she had never ever asked for the sorts of things kids nowadays demand of their parents—designer clothes, technological gadgets, luxury goods—she’s always grateful for what she’s given.

But her greatest gift is her ability to experience the wonder of the world around her, without the cynicism and worldliness that kids nowadays seem to take on as soon as they turn five. I remember  Karen explaining to me why she had always kept her child-like capacity for delight and wonder. She said that she once read in a story where someone  had  said, ‘When we were children, we always wanted to be grown up. Now that we’re adults, we’d give anything to be children again.’ So Karen decided that she was not going to grow up in a hurry.

It has been a great joy for me having Karen as a daughter. I hope that she will always be my friend. Happy Birthday, Karen.


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