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You’ve got to hand it to the doctor – he picked the exact date that my daughter would give birth. Kathryn Elizabeth Perez gave birth to Zephyra Elizabeth Perez on Sept. 20, father Adrian Perez in attendance in Spartanburg.

I went to bed the night before expecting news soon. Adrian and Katie had called the day before to say that she had been admitted to the hospital and that the doctors said they’d do a C section if little Z wasn’t out in 18 hours. A couple of days before, we all met in Asheville for pizza, largely because Katie, my daughter, was going stir crazy and was tired of folding and refolding the baby things. Adrian decided she needed to get out of the house, even if it meant she might have a surprise delivery away from her intended hospital.

But Zephyra Elizabeth made her entrance right on cue, 2 hours and 59 minutes after midnight. She looks just like her daddy, with his broad facial features and his impish smile. All this I know from the photos Adrian has posted. As I write this, I’m waiting for his cue as to when I can come down to hold and behold the wonderment that Zephyra Elizabeth is – and to shower my lovely exhausted daughter with kisses.

Like a lot of people, I’ve both lost and gained people in the past year alone. What a difference a year makes for all of us, as we welcome new friends, family and associates into our lives and sadly watch some of them slip away. Each holiday reoccurs shortly after it leaves, reminding us of the speed with which our lives are passing.

In the past week, I’ve read the tributes to the wives two friends lost. People wrote wonderful things, remembering good times had and quiet conversations shared. The love they poured out underscores the urgency there is to life – to grab hold of love when you find it, to set aside pride so that it doesn’t get in the way of love, to open yourself up to the moment so that you can experience what it can show you, instead of insisting on your own way or trying to control the flow of events.

Letting life happens means wonderful things like little Zephyra Elizabeth, who came from love, was loved throughout gestation and is loved even more now. Letting life happen means loving your father more now than ever, nearly a year after his death. Letting life happen means holding your heart open to the possibility of love despite the heartbreak that preceded it.

It means baby blankets and wipes and as much granddad time as I can manage. One thing my daughter reminded me of when she was small was how much fun life could be.

My skills, highly honed in the last year, still need updating. And I think Zephyra is just the one to do it.

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