Eighteen years ago I was twice blessed. Your mom and dad gave me an unforgettable gift. They invited me to be present at your birth.
Having had three children of my own and having loved them as much as I thought I was capable of loving, I was caught by surprise at the waves of love and gratitude crashing in my heart, as you each came into the world. I was simply overcome by LOVE.
Erin, I got to hold you from the moment of your birth until Jamie boisterously joined the family. What an honor! That very significant day of your arrival, I fell in love with you both forever.
So many memories of your early days spending weekends with us playing in the back yard in McMinnville, playing with Brandy, our after school treks to share a slice of pie and conversation….
You have grown into amazing young women. You have done so despite and because of some pretty big challenges. You have done so because your mom and dad have loved you fiercely and well. And because you had a village. You had the Murphy clan, the Ward clan, and the Millers rooting for you all the way! And with all of us behind you through the good and hard times, you embarked on a journey of excellence that has brought you to this significant and challenging moment, exceptional students, loving daughters and granddaughters, beautiful and talented dancers, okay soccer players, and good and kind friends.
You accept everyone in your life regardless of color or sexual orientation. I see no prejudice in you. I have loved watching you play soccer with great sportsmanship. You are gifted writers and already women of substance. You truly care about the environment, love animals, are savvy about politics, and deep thinkers. I am full of hope for the good you will do in the world.
And here we are. On your eighteenth birthday. This significant day when you deserve to be celebrating with your friends, when you deserve to be carefree and joyful, a birthday that will instead be spent sheltering in place, after losing your precious dog Ella the day before. For you who so deserve the best, an eighteenth birthday to remember for all the wrong reasons.
It seems adulthood has come upon you suddenly, like it did for me under different circumstances when I was fourteen. Like me, you will learn strength and wisdom from this time. I have complete faith that you will navigate this time with equanimity and grace, and courage.
I celebrate you today, with all my heart. I thank you for the love you have for me, for the arms around me at the mall in your early teens without concern that people would think you weird, for the awesome hugs when we get together, for the laughter, your sense of humor, your drive for excellence. I am so proud of you!
Happy Birthday my precious girls. Welcome to adulthood. Live it well. Be present. Don’t miss a thing. Welcome it all. Every bit of it is sacred. Like you.