Fina and MeThere are a few things that a man looks for during his lifetime. One of these, and probably the most important of them all, is the search for love. It is an all-consuming quest to discover a tie that binds the soul to another. Some may try to find it in a partner, some in work, others in art. And, of course, some never find it at all – or they think that they don’t.

I am a lucky man. I am lucky because thirteen years ago I found this love resting her sleeping self in the crux of my arm, all wrapped up to stay warm in the frigidity of a Maryland winter. In her eyes I felt the bind and the draw to that supernatural otherness – that pull that makes you willing to lay your life down for another human being. My love had been found.

Today, Delphina, having turned thirteen, is on her path to womanhood. It makes me excited. It makes me want to cry. It makes me remember all the days we spent together learning about the world and it makes me remember how small she was just yesterday and how old she is at this very second. It makes me wonder how many sunsets we’ve experienced together and how many more there will be. It makes me the happiest and saddest man alive all at once. And, still, she’ll make me laugh today as she always has and, most likely, always will.

Delphina is an ode all unto herself to that search for love that humanity inevitably takes upon its shoulders – and she is my answer to that quest.

Happy birthday, kid. I love you.