As a little girl, I was unequivocally a Daddy's girl. I remember (with some horror now, as a parent myself) having this preference. For that, I am sorry. The fact that you even tolerated me, while working the night shift, is an amazing feat.
It is unbelievably cheesy to say, but today you are truly my very best friend. There is a point you reach in adulthood where you begin to see your parents as flawed, actual human beings. What I have learned about you and from you as I have grown into my own adult skin has allowed me to appreciate you even more.
Today is your 50th birthday. I share the number because it's only that- a number.You are vibrant, enthusiastic and far more fashionable than you were 10, 15, 20 years ago (you're welcome). I hope to be one ounce of the woman you are when I meet the half century mark.
You are absurdly funny (occasionally without meaning to be) and unendingly kind.
When my friends or former boyfriends have met you, they often told me I suddenly made perfect sense in the context of you. My silly sense of humor, my unexpected and sparing snarkiness, my love of books, my abysmal math skills, my increased tolerance for shopping and finding bargains, my attempts at kindness and compassion- it's all you. Who I am, who I strive to be, as a mother- patience, love, resilience- exists because of who you have been for me.
You have taught me many things in the last 25 years.
How to quickly calculate what kind of savings a 20% off sale really means.
How to be unafraid to dream. Unafraid to challenge myself. At 50, you are working towards your Master's degree. We received our bachelors degrees on the same day, after you had already been a nurse for over 20 years. This summer, the girl who failed gym class (seriously) ran her first 5k. I watch you change and grown and continue to push yourself and it reminds me to not ever become too comfortable.
How to create delicious concoctions out of tequila. You make the best margaritas of anyone I know and I am desperate to learn your secrets.
How to be a better daughter. You expended endless energy taking care of your family, your parents. It is often thankless and always exhausting. But you do it because it is right. And I promise you, should a day come where you need to be taken care of, I will do the very best job. Because I learned how to do it from you.
That working hard and being kind will grant you the most beautiful and honest of successes.
That failure is relative.
There are countless lessons you have taught me, things I have learned just by watching you. I find myself typing and the words falling short of the gratitude and love inked into my heart.
I have written often about how grateful I am that you and Grace have a pure and amazing bond. You have exploded into your somewhat unexpected role of Mimi. My daughter is unbelievably in love with you and I look forward to watching your relationship shift and stretch and strengthen as time moves on. She is so lucky.
And I am luckier.
There is so much strength in you that goes unnoticed. But not by me.
I am prouder each day to be your daughter than I was the day before.
Ugga Mugga, Mumma..and Happy Birthday, you old broad