Jessica Michelle… on your twenty-third birthday, I send you all possible wishes for deep, abiding joy, for a long dose of something similar to the joy you take with you everywhere you go. I wish you the best life has to offer, now and always. Here are some specific blessings I am asking for, prayers I am saying over your beautiful life:
- May you always have enough water tanks and terrariums to shelter all the orphaned turtles that cross your path. And may Bean never get nipped on his perfect snoot.
- May you always find time to cook good food, slowly, sensually, applying your great talents and affections to meals meant for people you love. May you also cultivate the joy of cooking for yourself.
- I hope that you soon replace the houseplants that were recently upended and devoured by your neighbor’s pigs, two amazing animals who you loved instantly.
- I am confident that your path is already anointed, that you will find your way through college and medical school and beyond, that your dreams and purposes are fulfilled in ways that are unique to you. Remember we are here to help you.
- How wonderful that you are well on your way to being truly bilingual with Spanish! May you contunue finding joy in that pursuit then learn every single language that sparks your imagination and your cultural appetite.
- I wish you a well used passport in life, the moment covid-19 releases us all. I wish you one fine adventure after another, to all corners of the globe, both with friends and loved ones and alone. Both kinds of travel are important.
- I am praying for deeper healing than you have ever experience in your life, and you have experienced plenty already. I am praying for a dazzling, transcendant expeience.
- May all the things you crave, all the things you cannot stop daydreaming about, take shape right before your eyes. May the best versions of every desire manifest for you.
- I also hope and pray for you to know unexpected joys! Surprises that you could never imagine. Those are thrilling, and you deserve them.
- You are the kind of woman everyone wants as a friend. May you find the kind of friends you want, too, lots of them, of various depths and flavors and walks of life. Friendships of every duration, for each season. May you cultivate exactly the kind of village that your soul needs. May you always feel safe and like you belong. Because you are. And you do.
- Please let Bean come swimming again before summer ends. I am expecting that to happen. We miss him. (Oh we miss you too, you can come.)
- I pray that you discover the harmony between building your self sufficiency as a woman and living in healthy relationships, in community, with other people, because they are both crucial. The world needs well nourished, happy women, and the world needs tightly knitted communities.
- I pray that you know your worth, that you have a deep and unshakable sense of identity that noone (including me) can touch.
- You have such a green thumb! May your life always have space to grow things.
- May you and Jocelyn make time for each other this year, more than ever before. I pray for your sisterly bond to be galvanized so you can mourn your Dad together, however you need to, and so you can build new memories and share your adulthood as much as possible.
- May you continue to see with your wide open heart how loved you are by our big, unweildy family, how loved you have always been. How much a part of us you are, and always will be.
- May you learn to appreciate movies with subtitles but sitck to your guns about avoiding heat styling tools for your gorgeous mane of hair.
- I hope that on days you feel particularly drained or stressed or just plain grief stricken, you are surrounded by peace and affection. I hope that you get the quiet time you need, regularly, as well as the activity you need. You are such a good, intuitive caretaker; I hope and pray that you always receive the caretaking you need, too. Remember I am always here.
- Sprinkles! Fruit! Salads! Ice cream and shortbread cookies! Eggplant Parmesean! Homemade marinara sauce! Chicken noodle soup! Pot pies! Really good, authentic street tacos, pasole! May you always fill your belly with your favorite foods. It is one of life’s best pleasures.
- I hope you accept exactly the perfect amount of overtime at the hospital, no more than you need or can do in a healthy way, and just enough to enjoy your earnings.
- Keep painting and drawing. Keep creating. Write when it strikes you. Express every shade and nuance of your soul. I pray that you never put your pens or paintbrushes down for very long. It will keep your blood flowing.
- Stick with hope. Stick with forgiveness and peace and Love. These are choices only the strongest women can make, over and over again. I pray that in the deepest parts of your being, you find rest and trust in the overall goodness of life.
- May you always know God’s voice, the sounds that He makes just for you and you alone.
I love you more than words can say. Happy birthday my beautiful baby girl, now truly a woman. I am so delighted watching you live your life. My heart breaks for you in your giref, and it soars with you in your joy. Life is all of this and much more, every detail in between. It is all worth living to the fullest.
Just Keep Swimming