Today is your 16th birthday. At the risk of sounding completely cliche…. HOW?!
I will never forget turning 14 and knowing you would be born at any time. I couldn’t wait to hold you. I couldn’t wait to dress you up and play with you.
The first time I met you was the first time I realized what babies did to people.
For starters, you made me fall madly in love with the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. I was giddy the entire time I got to hold you. I immediately was sad knowing I would have to leave in a few days.
But man- nothing could have prepared me for what I saw in your mom. Your mom has always been one of my biggest heroes, but that day I saw her happy – unconditionally happy and in love – for the first time. I wish I could describe adequately how her face looked when looking at you, holding you, feeding you, showing you off to others…. I have never in my life been more proud of your mom than then. She was a changed woman. And even at 14 I knew that you were the best thing that had ever happened to her and that you two would have an incredible bond.
I’ll never forget when y’all came to live with us and how exciting that was for me. I always wanted a little sister and now I had one! I remember rocking you for hours (and hours……) and singing to you. You would look up at me with those big blue eyes and just giggle. Oh, how I adored you. I loved putting your hair in a water spout on the top of your head and buying you cute clothes with the babysitting money I would make.
Seeing you grow up has been one of the highlights of my life, Jacy. I think about how tiny you were in your preemie Gap overalls Tasha and I bought you. And now, 16… with your license! With your own car!
There are some things I want you to know as you turn 16. I know you’ll probably roll your eyes but just hear me out, okay?
You are beautiful. No but seriously. It isn’t at all fair that you skipped the bad hair and the bad outfit choices. WE SHOULD ALL HAVE TO GO THROUGH THAT STAGE, OKAY?! But you didn’t. Instead, you blossomed into the most beautiful teenager I’ve ever seen. (Also. It isn’t fair that you have those long legs when I’m stuck with these stubby disasters.) I look at you and hope that you know you are beautiful. Not in the conceded way that no one wants to be around, but in the way that you don’t try to find that validation from others. I just wish that you could know in your core that you are beautiful and never seek anyone’s approval about it. I spent way too much of my life (especially teenage years) trying to find my beauty through others (read:boys) and well, that never worked out for me. I don’t want you to struggle through that like I did. So just listen to your wise aunt and know, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.
You are loved. More than anything else, I cannot stress to you enough how loved you are. I know that this is something I should say more often to make sure you know- but I love you. Unconditionally love you. And that’s not even important compared to your mother. Jacy, your mother loves you more than she loves herself. She loves you more than you could ever know. She loves you enough to make up for the lack of love you could have ever felt from other parents in your life. You never needed him because YOUR MOM LOVED YOU ENOUGH FOR THE BOTH OF THEM. And the greatest loss is his because, man, did he miss out on the most wonderful kid on the planet. When Josh came into the family like a saving grace, I saw how much he loved you too and I knew he would be one of the best things that ever happened to you. One of the best decisions your mom ever made for herself and for you was choosing to let Josh love you. Then there is your grandparents. You couldn’t possibly know the love from them. Of course there is your amazing aunts too. We all love you enough that you should never have to feel like you missed out on anything because you haven’t. We have all been so madly in love with your big blue eyes and beautiful soul since the first time we laid eyes on you. Unconditionally, we love you. The best part is that we don’t hold a candle to the way God loves you. Even when we fail you and you feel unloved by us, God is always there showing you how much He loves you.
I hope that today is a wonderful birthday. I hope you enjoy driving as much as I did when I turned 16. Remember to pay attention and DO NOT TEXT. (Sorry, the mom came out for a minute.)
Oh Jacy, I am so insanely proud of you. You are growing into a wonderful woman and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you.
I love you so very much,
Crazy Aunt Tiff