My daughter turns 6 today. When I woke her from sleep this morning I admired her face, her mom’s big eyes and her relaxed breath. The mornings have been hard for me lately, some of the issue being that its winter but it’s also a difficult time in my life - my own therapist calls it a “growth season.” That’s nice. I call it a crappy season of self-loathing, guilt, and fear. My daughter turns over and away from me, expelling a 6 year old sized flatulent in her father’s direction. I smile. I come back to the present. I return just in time to witness her hastened arousal from sleep - she realizes that it’s her birthday. She doesn’t know that the mornings are hard for daddy. 6 years ago she came out screaming, red-faced, and a bit swollen. I was scared then too. I’m sure it’s one I’ll recall on my deathbed. My daughter is fully upright now. She has a big smile on her face and shows me six fingers, “two hands now” she says with pride. She’s growing, learning, and time is passing. She reminds me of this and she knows it too. She, like most children, are fearful of separation and are aware that death is the threat of a permanent separation. She asks me to accompany her to the bathroom to get ready for the day. I follow her lead. I’d rather lie in bed and contemplate my life, replay the past, and worry about the unfolding day ahead. But my birthday girl, my teacher, requires something else. She asks me to stay present with her - to feel my feelings but also not neglect the morning of her 6th birthday. It will only happen once and she knows it. She knows what I have forgotten so many times before - that the passing of time insists on change and that life is impermanent. In response to the changes she naturally intuits, my child teaches me to courageously and fully engage with this fleeting moment and to remain fully alive while I can. Happy Birthday, my daughter. Thank you for guiding me.