Happy Birthday! Bon et heureux anniversaire!

My first American-born daughter is celebrating her birthday today. Parents measure the passing of the years with the growth of their children. In my case, my daughter’s birthday marks additionally my first year in the US.
A couple of suitcases, our favorite books and CDs, an overdose of optimism and a serious case of fearless attitude, that’s basically what my husband and I took with us when we left Paris for California and started from scratch a new life in the US.
Being a foreigner is a full time job and it kept us busy for a while. Still does!
Twenty-one years later, it is much easier of course to reflect on the tremendous events of that first year.
And I wonder: what if we had known this or that, what if we had done this or that, what if we hadn’t done this or that.
But as my daughter celebrates her birthday, life stops being made of if or what.  My daughter is the reason I wouldn’t do anything differently. She is what makes this first year so unforgettable.
With her birth, she became not only the second child of our family but she anchored us in the country we would, year after year, discover and soon love as much as our native land. Being the first American-born child of the family, my daughter incarnates, still today, the dream her father and I had of a new life.
Happy Birthday to you, my sweet daughter!
Bon et heureux anniversaire, ma fille chérie! 

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