Nineteen years old...wow. You're now the age I was when I had you. I thought I was so grown up then. Truth is, I knew nothing about maturity until you came along. Over the years, as I've continued to learn and grow, I've gained some knowledge I would like to share with you on your birthday. Listen up:
-Get yourself a best friend. You don't need a bunch; one will do just fine. Someone who will be there for you, create inside jokes with you and hold your deepest secrets. Be good to that person and never take them for granted. They know where the bodies are buried.
-At least once a day, laugh until you tear up. It's not that hard if you don't take life too seriously; which reminds me....
-Don't take life too seriously. We are here to be joyful. Find your joy and spread it to everyone you meet. Part of the reason everyone loves your grandfather, aside from his brilliant one liners, is his lightheartedness. He's a great man; follow his lead.
-See the world. Don't confine yourself to this tiny section of the planet. There is so much life out there to explore. Go
-Be fearless...your fears will determine your limits. Learn how to shake them off and embrace all that life has to offer
-Don't be reckless with these three important things: Money, your health, someone else's heart. All three are gifts and must be respected.
-Be kind. You know better than most the battles people face behind closed doors. Life hasn't been easy for you and it's not easy for many others, too. Always remember that and have empathy.
-Live a life of passion. It made not be the means by which you earn a living but have something in your life that feeds your soul.
-Be chivalrous. Hold doors, hail cabs and always remember 'ladies first'. Be the kind of polite that makes old ladies swoon.
-Lastly, and most importantly, know you are loved in a crazy, all consuming kind of way. It's the kind of love that makes a mother stand quietly outside her 19 year old son's room just to watch him sleep while she fights back tears and floods of memories. It's the urge to pull the blankets under his chin, just in case he gets chilly during the night. That kind of love that makes a mother smile when she hears her son laughing halfway across the house. The kind that makes her know there is nothing she wouldn't do, no battle she wouldn't face in order to spend as much time as she can surrounded by that love. Let it be your safety net in life.
Thank you for helping me to grow, teaching me how to love unconditionally and for being my reason to live. From the moment you were born, you have been my greatest joy. Happy birthday, baby.
Forever and always