[I feel perhaps I should apologise in advance for all these naked feelings, but hey, this is a milestone in our family life and just for once British reserve seems unnecessary.]
18 years ago my much-loved, beautiful daughter arrived in the world.
Nothing had prepared me for the sheer force of the love which I felt as I cradled her in the darkness of a snowy morning in South London.
I was still less prepared for all the many many gifts that she has brought into our lives; the friendship and laughter, the songs and poetry, the windows onto God which she has opened.
I'd not been prepared either for the mutuality of the relationship...the way she looks after me, at times carrying burdens far beyond her years, and the way we can understand each other's unspoken thoughts ("That's because you only have the one brain between you" her father observed on one occasion, feeling rather excluded from all this feminine empathy...."The Brain" has become a shared joke, a further bond in itself)
When I was 10, reading "Roller Skates" for the first time, I'd promised myself that if I ever had a daughter, she would be Lucinda. Today I am so very proud of the lovely young woman she has become and very grateful that she has so wonderfully lived up to her name as "bearer of the light".
Birthday blessings and great happiness always, my firstborn. Go well, wherever life takes you.