Today is my littlest sprite's birthday. She's nine. She's a mess. I started calling them all sprites when she was about two. She brings out a playful sparkle in everyone. She's a mischievous mystery. She's incredibly fun yet sensitive to a fault. She's strong and competitive yet affectionate and tender. No one can hold back a giggle when she really starts to laugh. It's a belly laugh that fills her whole face. She cries big crocodile tears when she's wounded. She's graceful on her toes. She'll take hit after hit after hit but, after a few from you, she'll knock you out so fast you won't know what happened. She moves fast on feet or wheels, as if she has wings that no one can see. Her favorite place in the world is cuddled into my shoulder. She collects little, shiny things. And lalaloopsies. I think she loves those funny little dolls because they are put together with mismatched patterns and disproportionate parts. She loves things that seem just a little bit broken but are still in need of a good home. She believes in fairy tales and the great guardians of childhood. She fills multiple journals a year with drawings and stories and taped down feathers and leaves and pressed flowers. She's a sprite. A genuine sprite of faery folklore. She can't be pinned down and she'll love and live where she chooses. Like I said, she's a mess. And I love her for it.