Ridiculously Epic…

Right and wrong are just words. What matters is what we do

Why did life have to happen?

on January 17, 2011

Written in 2002 by my Aunt Peggy, this is a birthday e-mail she sent to me on my 16th birthday. I printed it out and have kept it for the past 8 1/2 years, with the intention of framing or something to preserve the amazingness of this letter. I found it again tonight while I was cleaning off my bookshelf – every time I’ve read this letter since I received it in June of 2002, I’ve cried. Tonight was no exception.

“Dear Jessi,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I am sorry I didn’t send you anything yet but this week has been crazy. I will get it to you as soon as I can. All of Steve’s relatives were here for David’s graduation and my house has been trashed! Steve’s son Bryan put 2 new bathroom floors in for us and we’ve had to deal with that chaos as well. Bryan brought his dog which is a small terrier puppy (no bigger than a cat). She got sick and has thrown up EVERYWHERE! Tonight I have to disinfect and mop and shampoo carpets because I am grossed out. Then tomorrow Tyler is having a birthday party and RJ is having his 8th grade graduation dance…then RJ will graduate from the 8th grade on Tuesday! I am sad at all the growing up that is going on!!!!!!!

I have all these feelings about your special day. You are SIXTEEN today and I can barely believe it! I remember you so vividly as a child, born in the year that I turned SIXTEEN! You were so bright and full of happy sunshine bubbles. All your singing and playing and dancing and made me laugh. I especially remember all your dolls and how you loved the color PURPLE and how strange and different and exciting it was to have this shiny little girl in our midst. I was always the baby girl until you came along! I guess I never thought about it that way but you kind of took my place in the¬†hierarchy. My mother remembers taking care of you after you were born and how fragile-looking you were. She said she was so happy to finally have a granddaughter. It must have been like having your mom and I all over again. But you were the ONLY granddaughter, and that is very special. You didn’t seem to mind that there were no other girls – it didn’t intimidate you at all. Sometimes it even felt to me that both you and Tim were RJ and Tyler’s older siblings. They have always adored you Jess.

You’ve always made the best of every situation, and your creativeness is outrageously evident in your school work and writing and art, and even when we just sit around and talk. You’ve always made everyone in your family feel loved and important. You are generous with your time and love and it means so much to all of us around you.

To be SIXTEEN years old means so many things to me and I am so excited for you as you enter this amazing time of your life. No longer will you be an extension of your parents!!! It is a happy time and a sad time too. When I turned 16 and realized that I could get a job and earn my own money, get my license and no longer depend on my dad for rides, it was a really big change for my life and a wonderful one, but I think it was also sad for them. You are the baby, just like me, and soon you’ll be off living you own incredibly happy life and your parents are left with the memories. 16 was also (sigh) the age of my first sexual experience. Yeah, it was a little early, I wish I would have given that more time. I think back now and all the boys I dated and/or had crushes on are a distant memory…..some of them I don’t even remember very well. You’ll feel that way too.

I am not sure I’d do it all over again Jess, but if I were in your shoes Id do a few things differently. I’d learn patience. I would know that everything comes in time and I don’t have to rush to get to where I want to be. I would not get psycho over boys. I would experience broken hearts with the understanding that it would make me a stronger person in the end. I would learn as much as I could in school because if you want to have any kind of chance in life, you have to know things. All kinds of things! I would take more chances. I would always try to look at the bright side. I would travel and see the world before I settled down with kids and a marriage. I would ask more questions and spend more time with my family because although I had zillions of friends, only one of them has maintained contact with me since high school, and my family has always been there.

I have so many things I wish I could give you. But you have to pave your own road. And you are such a beautiful, loving, smart, funny, and incredibly talented young woman, I am sure that you are going to do things that your mother and I never dreamed of. I count myself lucky to be in a world that you grace every day with your kindness and generosity.

I guess what I wanted to say is that if I had a daughter I would want her to be just like you, and I love you so very, very much.

Have the most incredible 16th birthday ever.

Aunt Peggy”


One response to “Why did life have to happen?

  1. Aunt Peggy says:

    Oh Jess, I do love you so very, very much! I can’t believe its been 9 years since i wrote you this! You are very special to me and you always will be..nine or ninety years from now!

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