Tomorrow is Gracie’s fourth birthday. Poppy just came over to say hi and he told her, very somberly, that it was her first perfect square (4). I remember so vividly hearing about that when I was 9, and when I was 16 – was a nice moment of generations moving forward and many things staying the same. Gracie started her day by presenting her (third!) CES birthday book to Jenifer. She then celebrated with her class with cupcakes and a big “4” candle and after school we opened a big present from Grandma & Grandpa. The present is a toy veterinarian’s office which is fabulous – right now it’s about 400 plastic parts and a big manual which seems to be written in Japanese but I am optimistic about its future as a favored toy. Tomorrow we’re going to head to New York (“Nork” to Grace) and have Magnolia cupcakes with Alexandra, Cameron, Margot, and Hadley in the afternoon before practicing at the rehearsal with Gloria & Jim. Big agenda for car ride: writing my toast!! Very challenging. How to find the perfect funny and yet also deeply touching story that encapsulates all I have ever felt and loved about her. That’s impossible! I’m sure I will draw on some Ms Iwakuni and Exeter stories to illustrate how wonderful and loving and wise a friend she’s been, for some 16 years now (another perfect square)!!! Will certainly blog upon our return from New York with highlights from the festivities. In the meantime, am in my standard happy-sad state regarding Gracie turning 4. Four years ago I was in wild, intense labor with Matt (and Megan) standing staunchly by my side. We thought John was about to die. The economy was going into the crapper. The sniper was terrorizing Washington. How far we’ve come – and yet how much remains the same. The world’s uncertainties continue to cause me great fear and anxiety, but I guess I grow increasingly comfortable that that’s just a (not particularly charming) facet of who I am. This final picture shows “Today we are celebrating GRACIE’s birthday!” on the blue room whiteboard – for some reason that really got to me today. Lump-in-throat stuff.