I never imagined, before I had children—before you or your sister or your brother were born—how deeply I could love a child.
But the day you were born, my heart opened wider, my love deepened to depths unimaginable. There was room in my heart for you and your sister and then, six years later, your brother.
Some day, when you become a mom, you will understand the fierceness with which a mother loves—how she hurts and cries and rejoices and desires nothing more than the best for her children.
I think of you every single day. Some days my heart aches at your absence. And I wish I could wrap my arms around you and hug you and feel the softness of your beautiful curls.
You are a beautiful, strong, caring and compassionate young woman with a mind of her own. Remember how, as a preschooler, you shut yourself in the toy room and played alone for hours? When I’d check on you, you’d ask me to leave. And even though I did, it wasn’t easy to walk away, to feel like you didn’t need me.
But I’d like to think we always need each other, that our love for one another runs deep through our veins, that no matter the distance between us, we remain connected.
I consider how strong you’ve been. At age four you clutched your Big Bird, took a nurse’s hand and walked toward the operating room while I dissolved into tears in your father’s arms. You never cried.
And years later, when you had to wear a back brace 23/7 for a year, you didn’t complain. I cried. But you soldiered on and did what you had to do.
You’ve always seemed fearless to me, ready for any new adventure. You flew solo to Argentina to study abroad and then back twice thereafter, fighting off a mugger once. I don’t like to think about that attack even now because the thought of anyone ever remotely coming close to harming you scares me. I love you so much and want you always to be safe.
You give of yourself with selfless compassion from a faith-filled heart. Not once, but twice, you helped with clean-up after Hurricane Katrina. Even in your life’s chosen profession as a Spanish medical interpreter, you continue to give.
I am proud of you. Your name means “admirable.” That seems fitting for you, my precious daughter.
I love you now and forever. Happy birthday!