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This is your day. But first, a confession.
I confess that I've wasted far too many years and too many birthdays trying to invent the perfect birthday present. I've let myself feel too much pressure to the point of spending this day wallowing in shame and disappointment rather than in celebrating you.
I don't know what's changed exactly. But whatever the cause, this day of this year feels different.
It's not about gifts or the perfect love language. I am thinking only of you. I am picturing the four year old Heather, the eleven year old Heather, and the fifteen year old Heather. I am imagining you in every season - how you looked, what you felt, every tear you cried, and how you saw the world. Today I am observing your life through stories and imagination, and finding joy and sadness and intrigue along the way.
I know you don't like to call attention to yourself. You don't expect anyone to find you all that interesting. But you are. And I do.
Sometimes busyness and healing get in the way of just feeling human. And though I appreciate how hard you push forward to provide your children with a healthier and more vibrant future, you are still this curiously intriguing person who deserves a story all her own.
You have been worth celebrating at every step... Every year you have faced this great unknown. I grieve that it didn't always happen.
Today is different. Today you are my beautiful wife, in whom I take great pride. So we will flip through the photo albums and listen to Gigi tell grand tales of the little girl who burned down her kitchen and the girl who once hailed a taxi to take her grandmother to the emergency room, and the woman who gave birth in her home to three of the most amazing little humans ever to slobber on this earth. We will tell our stories and eat good food and thank God that you landed in our little corner of the world.
Happy birthday, Heather. I am amazed that you are you.