Hopefully you're not yet getting sick of birthday letters (I know how you feel about birthday singing) because they are one of the highlights of my year. Yes, I know you know how I feel about you. Yes, we talk all the time. Blah, blah, blah. In this letter I get to tell you publicly. On. The. Internet. So when girls who like you Google your name (because that's what girls do), this is one of the things they will get to see. Which is good, because you're charming and cute and what girl wouldn't like you?
Last year's letter was all about you and Harry Potter and all of the strange ways the two of you are tied together for me...and that's still true, it always will be. But this year; this year has been all about growing up. What a shitty year we've had, right? The light through all the crappy, crappy days has been you. You have manned up and matured in the most amazing of ways. You've had a heart breaking year on nearly every front and you've come out of it okay. Maybe even funnier and sweeter; definitely taller. I hope this past year has taught you what I already know about you; you can survive all of it. Survive it, conquer it, surpass it. You are magical.
Your birthday is supposed to be all about you and you know I think everyone should get a solid 9 day celebration; weekend before, week of, weekend after. But as a mom, birthdays are sort of about us. I didn't know that until I had you. For me, your birthday is about a turning point. The beginning of the biggest thing. Ever. When it's your own birthday; it's about the presents, the celebration, the turning of a new age, memories of birthdays past. When it's your kids birthday, well; that's entirely different. Your memories don't exist before the day of your birth; mine do. I know the surprise of finding out that even with two forms of birth control; poof, there you were. What would I do about it? Was it good news or bad news? I know the million ways you changed my life before you were bigger than one of my fingernails. I know that you were sent to me to save me from myself and you did. You do. Over and over again. It is a genuine pleasure to know you. . All of that is tied in with you and how you came to be here, how you changed me and my relationship with the world, forever.
For Erin, you became a new beginning. A reason to stop taking drugs and start dealing with life. A reason to come back home. For me that meant because of you I got my little brother back; a gift I abuse nearly every single day without any plans for stopping. What your birth meant to Erin, he will have to tell you himself, but I know that you are one of the most important people in his life. I wish for you to have a relationship with your sisters like the one I have with my brother. Siblings are the best therapy for navigating crazy parents.
For Shawna and I; well, you are another tie to bind us. She was the first person to see you, one of the first people to love you and her journey to reach you before you entered the world is just further proof of her unconditional love for you and your somewhat crazy mother. Driving 6 hours to get to the last seat on the last plane out, arriving to Chicago 27 minutes before your birth and being in the room when you got there are the visual that represents our entire friendship. My most important wish for you in life is not success or a woman who loves you or even children; it is a best friendship like the one I have. I wish for you one person who is not related, who doesn't have to love you but who does love you for you, and with no conditions and who will always be there when you need them.
For my Mom and I; I don't even know where to begin. We were always close, but always too much in each other's face. You gave an entire new dimension to our relationship. United in loving you more than anything else. On a much less important note; it was a little nice to have something better than the favorite kid had to offer. It turns out; grand child trumps favorite son...sometimes. How fiercely your Grandma loved you is how I learned that her love for me was that way too; just a little harder for her to show sometimes or maybe just a little harder for me to see. She loved you more than anything and I hope you feel her with you the way I feel my Grandma and my mom. She will never leave you; she will always protect you.
This past year has been a year of loss. Loss of your Grandma, your home, your footing. But you've held up to all of it. It has been amazing to watch, and I find myself learning from you, as usual. Being your mom is the single best gift I've been given in my life and I have been given many, many gifts.
I know I'm not always easy. Shockingly, neither are you, do you know where you get that from? Yeah, me either. Even when I'm not easy; I am keenly aware of the gift that having you in my life is. I wish for you an easier year than last year; although I can't promise it. I can promise that you will get through it and you will continue evolving. You will keep your head up and your sense of humor. All of the things that seem so hard now are all of the things you will look back on someday and see how they made you who you are and you will know that; good, bad or ugly, you wouldn't change any of it.
I hope your birthday was a happy one. I love you forever and always.