My daughter Megan’s birthday was here yesterday, the last day of February three out of every 4 years. Today 23 years of her life are gone, but she hasn’t been cheated. The girl lives and brings life to all around her, especially her family. In many ways she’s “wise beyond her years.” There are times she speaks to me with the wisdom of the big sister I always wanted. Infrequently she speaks to me with the narrowness of a spoiled princess. I know I’m responsible for that. I only hope I’ve influenced the wisdom part.

Recently I read an article stating that at 50, many people shift from a mindset of “What do I want?” to “Why am I here?” Megan still “wants,” but even at 23, she’s much more focused on the “Why am I here?” question. As I watch Megan’s maturity accelerate, I see the answers very clearly. The way she lives her life answers why she’s here:

She’s here to protect and teach and love her daughter, Madison Olivia.
And her brother, Kyle.
And her niece.
And her grandmother’s.
And everyone else she loves.
She’s here to help me be a better person.
And to aggravate me.

Charlie is gone. The dead one. He was a friend of Megan’s who will always be part of her. Not just in the ink drawings of Maddy’s hands he etched in her skin, but forever in her heart. He was unique. And good. His life and sudden death made Megan better.

Today is here for you and me. The moment is all we’re guaranteed. We should use it to protect. To teach. To love.

The clock runs out.