Today is my daughter's 30th birthday; a fact that bothers me not in the least. Instead of making me aware of advancing years, this occasion actually has the opposite effect and I feel energized by the celebration. I have found that my daughter's life actually inspires me and makes me happy.

I should explain before I gush too much about what a great kid Annie is to tell you that she and I are cut from exactly the same bolt of cloth. Now, you say, "That could be a good thing or a bad thing." I agree and, of course, it's a bit of both. It's actually a little hard to raise a kid who is just like you. Ever since she was born, she has pretty much understood me; teen years not withstanding. I am at times proud and more than a little bit scared for her. Sometimes, it's like I'm being forced to watch my own life as she struggles for balance in her life.

That kid is like me in so many ways, it's scary. Annie and I were visiting with some mutual friends the other day and one of them said, "It's just like talking to you." I'm going to take that as a compliment. On the other hand, I've heard it expressed to the negative. Annie's mom will often tell her that, "You're just like your father." I'm happy to say that Annie always responds, "Thank you." I hope she always will.

Today, she turns 30 and I'm excited for her and the journey she is beginning. Much like her old man, she has some work to do. Who among us doesn't have some work to do? The bottom line is that she is ready to tackle a problem and wrestle it to the ground. Her courage to fight is strong and she gets braver with each new day.

You'll just have to pardon the ramblings of a proud father. I'm so proud of her and the person she is and the person she is becoming. What a blessing this is for me. I get to have a great daughter and a great friend all rolled into one. What a kid! She's a chip off the old block.





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