Happy Birthday Rachel

My daughter Rachel, has a birthday today. I wanted to share a few words about her.

She is talented, and giving, and nurturing, and a healer. 

Which is a miracle. She should be hardened and bitter and bruised and fragile, maybe a little broken and bent.

As the firstborn of what eventually become a tribe of 7 (over the unfolding of 16 years), her mother and I often referred to her as our plow. It was no jest. She hit every rock in the field as our well-intentioned hearts, but unskilled hands tried to cultivate an environment for the family, using Rachel as the unwitting test case. She got dinged up in the process through faults that were not her own. In retrospect, I wish I’d had the wisdom to discover the myriad hidden rocks of parenthood and child-rearing other than with a firstborn plowshare named Rachel.

I guess being a plow made her adventurous, pretty fearless, and certainly not afraid to take a calculated risk.  For years now she has carried the family’s entrepreneurial flame, having started her own business with unflagging determination, the sweat of her brow (literally), and out of her own pocket. 

She set the stage for her own success during a post-divorce (family disaster) period of several years when we were unfortunately very much estranged (Though by the mercies of God, I am thrilled to have again been part of Rachel’s life for many years past.). Undaunted, she channeled her beautiful, stubborn, willful, independence into an amazing, thriving, service-oriented business. 

I may be my daughter’s equal in stubbornness, but I’m not half the entrepreneur, and not a quarter the businessperson she is. And that is awesome to me! I am delighted that she has eclipsed my feeble modeling by such wide margins!

She owns a massage therapy business with two high-end locations in the city where she was born at home. Because of necessary Covid lock downs, this past year has been a struggle for her. The mandatory shut down forced her to furlough her carefully curated staff. She had to negotiate lease arrangements with multiple landlords.

She then had to do the same searching, and haggling, and negotiating, and juggling to patch together enough income to keep her own home. 

She lost at least $120K of irrecoverable personal income in the past year due to lost revenues from mandatory shutdowns. This was through no fault of her own. 

So, you’re damn right I’m glad the part of the government that actually cares about people voted to give some of that back! But it’s a drop in the bucket in comparison to what she lost.

Finally able to reopen, she retained her former staff, and chose to adopt even safer guidelines and policies than mandated to protect both staff and clients. It’s worked! Her business has not seen a single case of Covid arising from the literal ”hands on” service they offer their clients.

Though our conversations in the first few months of lock down shed some light on the efforts she was making, and all the bureaucratic red-tape she faced, she only very recently revealed just how dark those months of being shut down got for her. She did what Rachel does. She plowed ahead. She faced down the challenge, put on a brave face and soldiered on. 

I complained with more venom in those paragraphs above more than I’ve heard her complain this year. She doesn’t complain. She seeks a solution. She implements it. She survives, and she thrives. And she shares the success with those in her orbit.

At the beginning of the month, I wrote that my oldest son is my kindest child. Well…my oldest daughter has the toughest shell. But inside that shell is a warm, generous soul more concerned about your well-being than she is about her own. A caring nurturer who can heal you with her very touch! Her name in Hebrew, means ”Ewe”. All of the connotations of ”Ewe”, from nurturer, to comforter, to provider, to economic sustenance, each are manifest in my Rachel.

Thanks for indulging a thimbleful of my pride in wishing her a Happy Birthday! 

Happy Birthday, Rachel. 

PS- I’m still heartbroken over letting that little lab puppy nip your one-year-old’s finger at Freedom Park that day I was carrying you on my shoulders and kneeled down to let you pet it.

I wish I could have protected you better then…and every day since, from every nip and bite that my kneeling down to circumstances and pressures caused you to endure. Please know that from the first time your emergence into this world splashed me with salt water, all your cries have always broken my father’s heart. And all your smiles and successes have healed it again with gratitude and pride!

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