Do you remember how you used to write me letters and leave them on my bed? Sometimes you’d hide them under my pillow or tape them to the closet mirror. They would show up on days where I needed an extra boost of confidence or words of encouragement. Each one was signed with your name and the promise to love me for forever. I kept every single one, and still take them out of their box when I need a little reminder of you.
Today would have been your 60th birthday. Though January 5th has come and gone for three years now, this particular birthday is something I have been thinking about for a long time. What could I possibly do to commemorate such a special milestone? I wish I could leave a card on your nightstand or buy you your millionth scarf. Instead of pressing my cheek to yours and taking pictures on your birthday, I stare at old pictures of you on my wall. Instead of making chocolate chip pancakes to serve you in bed, I find myself eating cereal alone and wondering if they have chocolate chips in heaven.
Since I can’t do either of your classic birthday favorites, I decided to write you a letter. Letters were always our special thing, like a secret we held close to each of our hearts. This letter is my gift to you; a place to share with the world my love and devotion to everything your memory still stands for. I know you’ll never get to read it, but writing this has eased a small part of the pain that keeps stinging my eyes with tears. So as much as this letter is for you, it was also written for me.
Every day of my life I see you. I feel you in little glimpses and small moments. I felt your hand holding mine as I went into my first college job interview. I hear your voice every single time Bruno Mars comes on the radio (your favorite hobby was to sing to his songs as loudly as you could until I screamed at you to stop embarrassing me). When I see the color red it reminds of the endless red sweaters, scarves, and handbags you owned. Though they intensely nauseate me, Chinese chicken salads always have a way of bringing you to mind. Most importantly, I see your smile and feel your energy in the presence of our family and friends; they are the next best option to having you physically standing by my side.
So much has happened in the past three and a half years. What I wouldn’t give to spend just five minutes with you to share all of the amazing things that have shaped my life. I hope you would be proud of me for ending up in a new city so far from home. I hope you would be excited that I am leaving for London in less than three days. I hope you would laugh at my stories regarding the opposite sex (don’t worry, they’re not all bad). I hope you would love the friends that have become my second family. I hope for a lot of things, but most of all I hope that wherever you are in the universe, you are well taken care of and have things to do and people to love.
Thank you for being such a caring mother, wife, and daughter. Thank you for being the kindest aunt, niece, cousin, and friend. Thank you for being my hero, my best friend, and the person who knew me better than I will ever know myself. I hope that one day we will see each other again, and we no longer need letters to tell the other how much we love them.
Happy birthday beautiful.