Happy Birthday, sweet girl. Every year I wonder how it is possible that twelve months / fifty two weeks / three hundred and sixty five days have caused me to love you even more.  And yet, without fail, I do.

And these twelve months?

I have watched you embrace and embody courage, conviction, tenderness, vulnerability, strength, perseverence, grief, possibility, and promise.

I have watched you reach deep within to summon all these and then some as you have made hard decisions—choosing to consistently and bravely honor yourself.

I have watched you move across the country, establish a new home, and start a new job—demonstrating grace and hope in the midst of the inevitable struggles and stresses that can’t help but accompany these huge transitions.

I have watched you love and laugh, agonize and cry, question and doubt, pick and choose, fall down and rise up—over and over again.

Over and over again I have been amazed by you, humbled by you, grateful for you beyond what words can possibly express. And still I try . . .

I marvel at who you are and who you continue to become. I marvel at the fact that somehow, in the grand-and-miraculous scheme of things, I have the privilege of being your mom. And I marvel at the certainty that when another twelve months / fifty two weeks / three hundred and sixty five days have passed, I will love you more still.

Happy 24th Birthday, Abby. I love you.