I know that birthdays aren't your favorite, at least your own birthdays. I get that. I really do. Marking the passage of one more year, of the illusive Time, the never-ending march toward Next, it does not always feel like a reason to celebrate.
Once you hit a certain age a birthday just doesn't have the same thrill and excitement that it once did. The joy of opening a wrapped up doll when you're a new three-year-old, the anticipation of a turning sweet sixteen, somewhere between becoming an official adult and the years after, a birthday starts to lose it's magic.
But, even though I get it, I still want to tell you Happy Birthday.
I am happy that those 'few' years ago your mother welcomed you into the world with tears and sweat. Another healthy daughter. There were smiles on their faces as they cradled you, kissing your eyes, breathing in the smell of your head, caressing your cheeks. The overwhelming love and joy that your mother and father felt for you, the reason that they celebrated you every year, remembering that first July 5th when you took your first breath, cried your first cry.
I am thankful that, although surely not perfectly (because no one is a perfect parent), they parented you and loved you the best way they knew how. I am thankful for you because you raised a pretty amazing son, who also happens to be my husband. I think it's wonderful that you came into this world, because without you, there would be no him. Without him there would be no us. Without us there would be no family.
All those birthdays led to you having your son. All the birthdays after that led to your son being the kind of man I wanted to marry. All your birthdays after that led us to here, now.
But I am not only thankful for your birthday because I am thankful for the man you helped raise. I am thankful for your birthday too, because I am thankful to have you in my life. You. I am lucky enough to be a woman who can say quite honestly, I like my mother-in-law, I enjoy spending time with her, I respect and admire her, and I love her dearly.
You are an amazing and beautiful person.
And even though it might not always feel the greatest to celebrate turning a year older, I am thrilled to be celebrating such a woman, who raised a son, who welcomed another daughter, who gets to spend time with and love on her granddaughters.
You are why we are celebrating. You are who we want to celebrate.