Happy 22nd, dear #1. You were expected in late December and never showed up til January 3rd. Or, January “tird” as you used to say. I always tell people you were a year late. It felt like a year back then, because I was so excited to meet you. Whenever anyone asked me whether I wanted a boy or girl, I always told them I didn’t care as long as the baby was healthy. But truth be known, I wanted a girl more than anything in the world. And then I was blessed with you.
I am so proud of you. You have embraced your college experience and are set to graduate in four years. Yippee!!! I admit it, your father and I had a few doubts along the way. Not because you weren’t smart enough – you just seemed to have so much fun along the way.
Which brings me to my wish for you. You are the epitome of la joie de vivre. Always have been. If you don’t know what that is – google it. I hope that you never lose your true joy for life. It is your greatest gift and I hope you embrace it the next hundred years of your life.
I know I don’t look old enough to have a 22 year old daughter….
To: My Big Sis
and the new president of the cool cat club
Mom always told me we would be best friends; this normally happened after a screaming match in the car or some degree of hair pulling. I never believed her. But now, you’re 22, I’m coming up on 21 and I think we’ve nearly outgrown our petty fights. I’m sure we’ve got a few ridiculous battles left in us, but, “looks like we made it.”
You are my dose of reality. When things have escaped my grasp – you’ve been there to snap me back and put me in my place. Your advice (while not always golden – you told me to jump head-first in the ocean with my glasses on, needless to say they were swallowed by the Gulf) has helped me step back, reassess, and move on, on more than one occasion.
Your deeper than you let on, and you surprise me everyday. When I walk into your room, clearly needing a sister or just to cuddle, you are there for me. Christmas vacation has been our rebirth. We’ve moved from civil acquaintances sharing blood relation to sisters. This does not mean a perfect relationship – it means that we piss each other off, dig under one another’s skin, and can still love each other. I think that we have finally found a place where you can look through my eyes and I can do the same.
For so long we have tried to be different from one another, to find some distinctness. We’ve hated being compared because we feared likeness. Well, I must tell you, I would be lucky to be anything like you – your confidence, beauty and sometimes masked kindness. You have always radiated confidence walking into a room; this is a magnet for others, people are drawn to you. You are well-liked and respected for your no nonsense attitude – no one could ever tell me off quite the way that you do. And I mean that in the most loving way.
Teaching me the “cool factor.” A raving success.
She’s still got it.
The most amazing thing to me about you is this: you have never changed for someone. You have been the person that you are at home with the people in your life. Watching you with Sweet Jonathon I’ve realized that you don’t put on a show. You are your humorous – mildly obnoxious – and honest self with him. You put on no errs and I admire you for that. As cliché as this sounds, you are true to yourself, you would never censor your words for anyone – except for maybe a job interview…hopefully.
I admire no one more than you. Your lighthearted ability to poke fun at yourself is a testament to your lightheartedness and a prime example of your humility. You’ve been through a lot in your life, from the things that have been your secret to more public dilemmas. You’ve handled your predicaments with nothing but grace and humor. Your resilience has never ceased to amaze me.
One more thing you need to remember in your next 22: you are seen and you are heard, you are understood and you are loved.
I don’t know about you….. but I’m feeling 22. Everything will be alright if you keep me next to you.