Every year when your birthday comes around I still feel the same excitement deep within my heart that I did the first time I got to meet you – you! Alive and out in this world and all mine to love. We have grown now and our paths have taken different twists and turns, but when I look beside me I can still see you through the trees; you flash a smile and I am reassured by your grace and tenacity.
On the Sundays when I am home we set out in the crisp morning air, a panting dog stalking at our feet, and nothing but bright blue skies overhead. For the next hour or so there is no-one but us. We talk, chattering like two birds filling the wakening day with our worries, our celebrations, our stories. We advise, commiserate, and laugh, oh so much laughter. These walks, this time with you, is restorative and fills up my heart.
You are a lioness little one. You are a bright young thing. You are a beautiful, smart, brave, kind, fierce, loyal and a hundred other sparkly shiny things wrapped in a determined and gorgeous young woman. You are the only person I can watch Katy Perry’s movie with, the only one who understands just what Martha Stewart really means, the one who knows why singing along to ‘Can’t Fight the Moonlight’ is essential, that dancing like a psychopathic lemur when the mood strikes is deeply nourishing to the soul, that hugging and humming to a bowl of food is an expression of joy itself, and why it is okay to be preoccupied with the perfect pie crust while you are staring at an endless spreadsheet.
I wish I knew how to repay you for all the love, support, guidance, and happiness you have given me over your life so far. If I could I would shower you in all the peanut m&ms ever made; wrap you in a thousand peach coloured scarves (it is your colour); buy you a different pair of boots for every day of the year; and make sure you never, ever ran out of tinned corn. I can’t do these things, but I can promise you this: I will always be here for you, I will always work to make you happy, and I will always love you. I carry your heart. I carry it in my heart.
Happy birthday Jess.