Dakota Angeli will soon celebrate her 16th birthday, and I’d like to tell her how much she has meant to so many people in her peripheral life.
Many years ago, we almost lost her to a heart defect. Her parents and older brother, Alek, worried about her health. She was made a Sparrow within the community, only to give the money set aside for her in donations to another child in need.
She attended Kiwanis meetings with her father; the older men took joy in her presence, but teased her brother mercilessly. Her simple presence brought relief to some who ponder the justice of life and injustice of disease.
Not one to be idle, she’s become an accomplished climber and followed Alek into cross country and track. Now Dakota talks about a career in nursing, and her intellect and thoughtfulness will serve her well professionally.
I’ve long respected her parents’ relationship. They are partners, equals and lovers. It is such an amazing blessing to call them my friends. I hope Dakota and Alek find life partners to share the joys and sorrows over many years to come.
Dakota, in your youth, you’ve made many of us pause to appreciate those around us, and hold our family and friends a little closer. You’ve brought an honest appreciation for each day, and the simple knowledge that beauty and grace are all around us. We just need to look for them.
Many happy returns, Dakota.