Birthdays, butterflies and beautiful places

Today, my daughter Katherine celebrates her birthday and, though I’ve written about her before, I believe the beautiful butterfly that is emerging from her COVID-mandated cocoon deserves a special post.

Katherine lives in LA, which has been locked down for almost exactly a year. Everything that drew Katherine and her friends to that city – the opportunity to perform, produce and immerse oneself in a creative culture – disappeared in a pandemic poof.

The LA lockdown meant no live shows, and very limited collaborations.

Not one to sit around her tiny apartment and feel sorry for herself, Katherine sought new challenges.

She learned to camp in isolated places with scary names like Death Valley. She and her pod met in parks and under parachutes to check in with each other, try new material and offer whatever support they could.

Unable to perform live shows, she and her comedy partner Leah stretched themselves in other ways. Katherine wrote poetry that Leah illustrated, and the results have been magical. Prevented from volunteering in person at the Midnight Mission, the shelter they have been supporting since they arrived in LA, the duo organized, wrote and produced a virtual Christmas Show/fundraiser with the children living there.

She and her friend and fellow creative soul Hillary Reynolds wrote a children’s book. She developed a screenplay with her friend Blake; contracted with a company to write and produced humorous corporate videos with Leah; joined a spoken word poetry group; took a series of Master Classes with her boyfriend Ed; submitted show proposals to various production companies; and, with Leah, worked hard to find humor in a historically trying time.

She also calls her mother every day (except from Death Valley because there is no cell service in the middle of the Mojave Desert, which was a maternal challenge for sure and I may or may not have called Leah a time or two to say, “Have you heard from her? Are they OK?!”).

They were, in fact, in excellent shape, and excited for the next challenge.

This past year has not been easy on anyone, but I admire those who took every test as a new opportunity to grow.

Happy birthday Katherine! We love you.

In addition to being an impressive athlete, musician and all-around great guy, Ed is a photographer and he gave me some of the gorgeous shots he’s taken of their adventures throughout this pandemic to use in this post.
They’ve taken the back roads to some really cool, isolated places…
…Like Death Valley, how cool is this shot Ed took with a timer?
Sometimes, when you’re in a tight corner, it’s best to look up.
And forge your own path.
This shot reminds me of the Dolly Parton song, “From here to the moon and back”
Leah, her fiance Kyle and their dog Yoshi joined Katherine and Ed on some of their Death Valley camping adventures.
This is Ed, a card and pool shark, photographer, musician, Eagle Scout, video editor, athlete and all around good guy. He has beat me so far in every game I’ve ever played him and I don’t even mind. I’m training hard for the next one, though. It’s on.
Happy birthday Katherine. May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face
The rains fall soft upon the fields and
Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.
P.S. This is one of the pandemic poems Katherine wrote about foster care and Leah illustrated.

4 thoughts on “Birthdays, butterflies and beautiful places

  1. Although I live in UK my step children moved to Calfornia about 13 years ago with their mother. My step son moved to LA for the film industry. I is working towards becoming a film producer. I have very little contact with him as he has Asperger’s and doesn’t communicate much with family but he did tell me that it is very scary over there and too many people not following the rules.
    Well done to Katherine for managing to keep going any way she can.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.