Dear Mae,

My greatest friend. Love of my life. The one who loves me unconditionally, who refuses to find fault. You have completed your eleventh trip around the sun. You’ve grown four inches in height this past year, become wiser, gentler, and more fierce a companion to this ever grateful Mum.

You are still a deep thinker, overflowing with empathy for every living creature and questions about the whys of the world. You want to know every great story ever experienced in the past – from the greats to the humble, tucked away souls that only God himself seemed to have noticed.

There has yet to be a day when you have asked fewer than fifty questions…a hundred? two hundred? I have tried to find an answer to each one, which has fueled your curiosity all the more. I pray you are forever curious, forever looking for answers.

This year you have built the most incredible worlds in Animal Crossing and the newly discovered, Minecraft. One afternoon you told me you wanted to build an entire city in Minecraft and by the next evening, you had! It was beautiful, smart, and at times, ingenious.

You devoured the Green Ember books series – which we finished just yesterday. You wanted so badly to reach the end. To see the victory you hoped for.

The moment it ended, you sighed, “I wish it wasn’t over.”

I loved our time listening to the story (all four books!) over the past few months, lingering twenty more minutes in the car, spending hours on end tucked away on the couch, clinging to every word. Taking to heart each loss, each victory, each new friendship – which all became your our losses, victories, and friendships.

I am so glad I get to experience each great moment of your childhood.

Hand in hand, arm in arm, head on chest. You make life richer.

This year you continued delighting in Barbies and Lego. Making more and more elaborate scenarios with Rae. Your friendship with her has become something more than sisterhood. Or maybe true sisterhood.

You have taken a fresh interest in drawing and storytelling. You appreciate a good joke and have inherited our love of dry humor which sneaks in while most don’t notice. You yourself are the most clever lady I have ever known.

You still hope to become proficient at speaking every accent the world has to offer.

You want to be at least as tall as Mum.

You do not want braces.

You still tell me each day, “You’re mine…forever!” I agree and hope and wish and pray that to be true each time you make such a declaration.

You still hold hands each chance you get, hug with all your might, nuzzle your head against mine, love when I become your blanket while we watch a movie, never get a satisfactory number of “Goodnight”s, you feel the weight of each goodbye and express, with equal weight, such joy with each hello, good morning, and I love you.

I love you.

I love you.

I love you.

Happiest of birthdays my incredible daughter.

You’re everything I hope to be when I grow up.

I love you.

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