It's time for one of my rare trips into the personal side of things....
My younger daughter Molly graduated from High School over the weekend, and I wanted to write a few things about her.
Molly is an amazing and wonderful person. She is thoughtful, loving and deeply caring about others. She loves to learn, with wide interests that span history, cooking, working with children and music, among many other things and has worked hard to succeed - she was recently recognized for her consistently high grades over the course of her entire high school career. She is self assured and knows how to express herself well. And she's a beautiful girl, too.
But while all that is true, and certainly worth mentioning, much of it makes her sound like a serious, studious person - which she is, when she needs to be. But that hardly works as a description of her, and I've saved the best for last. Molly is joyful - she loves life, and particularly loves to find the silliness and humor in things. She is uncommonly fun to be with, in part because her enjoyment of the goofy and funny nature of every day occurrences is absolutely infectious.
My sister captured Molly's joy in life when she was perhaps three years old, and on the swings. This is one of my favorite childhood pictures, because it seems to me that it captures pure happiness.
Throughout the intervening years, Molly has retained the ability to find the joy in life that is reflected in that picture.
Not only that, she is among the funniest people I've ever known. Now, my view of this may come from the fact that she has internalized part of my own sense of humor, which is heavily based on playing with words. But the appeal of her ability to be naturally and quickly funny is hardly limited to me. Even when she was in grade school, she was able to frequently make everyone in a surrounding group of adults crack up with a quick one line response to something, and she's only improved on that ability as she's approached adulthood herself.
Unfortunately, so much of this ability results in "you had to be there" situations - ones which are over as soon as everyone has finished laughing - that it would do me very little good to try and write out examples.
The following is not exactly a match for what I've been trying to explain, but it does capture her sense of humor, and the response from an audience. This is a spoken word piece that she and one of our closest family friends wrote together. This performance took place two years ago, at one of the music, comedy and improv parties my friends and I have been taking part in for over 25 years. While her partner in this creation introduced the piece, played a small harp-like instrument and offered a few comments, Molly did the reading of what they'd written:
Just as an aside, I'd also like to say that Molly's taste in music is quite a bit better than the vast majority of her peers. She tends towards the more melodic and well made of today's music, and when she does turn on a radio or buy music, it's more often an oldies station or a classic rock station than anything from today. She has a genuine interest in learning the history behind the big hits and the big acts, and shares my love of following music charts. I got a big kick out a recent facebook update from her, which read that she "... liked Shrek and Marvin Gaye". How many other 17 year olds chose those two this month or this year.
Plus, she shares my taste for the out-there, including the fact that she "gets" the song-poem thing ("Stay Where You Are" by Norm Burns is a favorite), and often can't get enough of some of the same way-beyond-left field stuff that I adore, such as "O Sing to Me".
I really haven't done justice to what I wanted to say here, but hopefully, I've captured her well enough for anyone reading this. Congratulations, Molly.