How is it possible that you are 25? 

How is it possible that my memories-like-they-were-yesterday of your birth are from 25 years ago?

How is it possible that you have already traversed 25 years of life?

How is it possible that the joy you brought into my life 25 years ago grows in strength as each year passes? 

How is it possible that in just this past 365 days you have moved more than 2,000 miles away from me and secured employment that you love and dealt with ineffective supervisors and less-than committed landlords?

How is it possible that you have done all of this in the midst of a pandemic?

How is it possible that I have only seen you 4 times in the past year and lived to tell the story? 

How is it possible that you continue to deepen into every quality and characteristic that makes you who you are – compassionate, generous, empathic, unboundaried, emotional, open hearted, witchy, witty, creative, committed, lovely, loving, beautiful, defiant, just, and wise? 

How is it possible that you struggle and break down and feel anxious and know worry and overextend and yet, eventually, take deep breaths and breathe in grace and even laugh? 

How is it possible that you have lived through my crises and transitions and questions and setbacks and growth and still love me as you do? 

I know the answer to every one of these questions with the same degree of fierce certainty I felt the moment you were placed in my arms. 

Every bit of this is possible because you are you, Emma Joy. 

What will yet be possible because of who you are? What stories are yet to be told and hearts yet to be melted and employers yet to be blessed and friends yet to be transformed and beauty yet to be created and love yet to be expressed and worlds yet to be shifted on their axis? 

I can no more begin to imagine any and all of this than I could have 25 years ago this day. In so many ways I am surprised. And in so many more ways I am not at all. 

For all that has changed over 25 years, never this: you have always amazed me, always stunned me, always filled my eyes with tears of joy, always held my heart. 

And all because you are you – fully, completely, honestly, openly, broken, hurting, aching, celebrating, dancing, playing, longing, hugging, hoping, loving, believing, being…

…being you. 

You are the gift, sweet girl – now for 25 years and for every single moment, hour, day, week, month, year and quarter-century to come. 

I love you.

Happy  Birthday, sweet girl.