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For Olivia, on Your 10th Birthday (Petite Madame Maelstrom)

This weekend two new lives entered our lives,
Two tiny-but-growing creatures, mewing, full
Of vim, electric, whirlwinds. I had thought
Your sister and you were whirlwind enough, but they
Are great additions to the family,
These kittens. And, dear 10-year-old, you’re great
At taking care of them. You have arrived
At last at the land of double-digits, sweet
Petite Madame Maelstrom, whirl-girl,
And it would be quite difficult to see
How I could be a prouder father. I
Suppose you could have had a few more huge
Accomplishments under your belt: you could
Have won a marathon while running back-
Wards; or you could have built a rocket by
Yourself then orbited the moon; you could
Have also won a slew of Oscars just
To have a showy way to hang up all
Your Nobel Prizes. Really though, I doubt
I would be too much more delighted than
I am with you in truth. With ease, you make
Me laugh each day so much my sides can hurt;
I’ve seen you like this with your friends as well.
You worry when it’s worth it; otherwise,
You keep an even keel (which Kipling taught
Us is as good a quality as one
Can have). My whole heart swells with joy
When I tell someone, “I’m Olivia’s dad!”
Because you always seek to do your best
And push to become better than you were
The day before. What more can I ever ask?

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