As you read this, I am spending the day in celebration of a significant milestone.Today, Kathleen Michelle Greenberger is transforming into Mrs. Michael Pakaski and there is much cause for celebration which is exactly what we’re doing.It is also a time to pause and reflect. When she arrived over 28 years ago, we had no idea the kind of person she would turn out to be. Of course there were hopes and dreams for perfection and happiness but we were determined to let her grow up and follow her passions.Little did we know at the time that she would become an almost perfect amalgam of us both. She excels at reading and writing, can draw, can sing, and used to play a fine viola. She loves all manner of genre fare while developing into a pretty nifty fiber artist. Kate’s tastes largely overlap with our own but she also developed preferences on her own, which makes perfect sense.We wanted her to think for herself and make her own decisions. We have been gratified through the years that when it comes to the big decisions she continues to voluntarily seek out our advice. It was a casual question from Deb, for example, that sent Kate in the direction of International Affairs and her current job with the federal government.Our pride in her accomplishments has not diminished but has in fact grown. When I took her to visit Washington University in St. Louis she stayed on campus and the following morning met me for the tour, a cup of Starbucks in her hand and spring in her step. She was clearly ready for college and two years later, announced she was staying at George Washington University for the summer having signed up for courses, arranged housing, and gained additional hours at the Bistro where she waitressed. She figured out American University at Cairo for her junior year and then determined which of the various alphabet agencies most appealed to her.Bit by bit, she was going from exceptional teenager to accomplished young woman, carving out a path uniquely her own. Although she still asked advice, she was now making plenty of decisions on her own and showing them off to us. Where others at this stage of life separate from their parents, Kate has kept us in her life. Family means a lot to her so the idea of missing holidays with us when she was overseas or not being on hand for the extended family’s milestones were painful to her.She has proven resourceful and strong without giving up her zest for life and ability to go from fierce Team Chief to squealing fan girl. She can go crazy for the latest Mac makeup to carefully articulating why a book makes her blood boil. While we taught her a lot, she took those lessons and ran with them.All that running led her to Mike, who complements her in so many ways. They’ve been together for over four years and it has heartened us to watch them grow closer and closer until today became inevitable. They have similar but not identical tastes and have developed a working partnership that should sustain them for many decades.Many parents see marriage as losing a daughter but really, to us it is the next milestone for both of us. Our job is now largely done. She’s an independent woman who has chosen a partner to share her life with. This is the next step in her adulthood and one with endless possibilities so we’re cheering them on and can’t wait to see what happens next.