My sleeping beauty. The latest lessons in life from a September 11 girl.

She came into the world with a coo and a gurgle. No extreme crying.

It was almost peaceful, compared to her sister a few years earlier.

The Teenager’s first scream could be heard in nearby suburbs. A noisy sign of things to come.

I can still picture the look on Daughter Two’s face, in those first few minutes. It’s like a photo in my mind. More than a beautiful baby. There was a presence, that remains to this day.

Her Mum felt it too. Like this tiny one was letting us know early on, that she was something special.

It didn’t take long to discover that these two much loved little girls were very much their own ladies. So similar is some respects, but so different in others.

Older sister loved hearing bedtime stories. One book after the other, night after night. She refused to go to sleep, even then. Nothing’s changed.

Younger sister would last about five pages. Sleep came so naturally. Try as she might, those gorgeous eyes would close swiftly. Nothing’s changed there either.

She can still call it a night, hours earlier than her sibling. Like both Mum and Dad, she appreciates a long sleep.

She went to bed early, on this day eleven years ago. Hard to argue with that, when you’ve just turned one.

We’d had a first birthday party for her, a few hours before the unthinkable happened in New York. The day her birth date became synonymous with terror.

There are mixed emotions for us at this time every year. So many families feel such awful pain, on the same day we celebrate our amazing gift.

She loves special occasions more than anyone I know. Birthdays, and Christmas, and Easter. Weeks out, plans are always very much in place.

So it was this weekend just gone. We held the party a few days early. Lots of fun. But very different from those early celebrations.

Back then, she couldn’t get enough of us. Didn’t matter who else attended, the biggest hugs would always be for Mum and Dad.

When you turn 12, you realise how ridiculous those same parents actually are. This time, we were warned about talking to the party guests. There would be no need for such idle chat. And don’t organise any games. Leave it to us, she said. She wasn’t being mean. Just being 12.

We behaved ourselves, and the party was a success. Not that she told us as much. But we could tell. There were even cuddles at day’s end.

As parents, we see wonderful things ahead for our daughters. Most Mums and Dads do. That they can do anything they turn their delicate hands to.

It’s not easy though. So many distractions. This girl who still falls asleep in the car, could be anything. Once she decides what it is that she actually wants to do.

She can sing, and act, and make people laugh. But it’s all confined to the lounge room. Too shy, she tells us.

Modelling agencies have snapped her up. Why wouldn’t they. Those same traits of beauty that afflict all the women in her family.

She has a flair for sport, especially athletics. Won relay gold at the regional carnival just yesterday. But doesn’t have time to compete on weekends. Far too busy with social activities.

Her love of dance continues. She’s great at that too. But only on her terms. Push her to do more, and be prepared for a battle.

Maybe this is all just a proud Dad boasting about the little girl he adores. Guilty as charged, your honour.

I know she’ll work it out. Big things are ahead. And we’ll be with her every step of the way.

She will change the world, you mark my words. For the better. Along with her sister. We’re so lucky to have them both in our lives.

In the meantime, she will give us those looks that only a Grade Seven girl can. And let us know how we have most things wrong. In the nicest possible way. Great practice for when she becomes Teenager Two. Twelve glorious months to go. Happy birthday beautiful girl.

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