I wanted to do something special for you on your 16th birthday. I know that 16, to a 15 year old is like discovering the Holy Grail (wait until you’re ready to turn 21…but don’t tell your mom or dad I said that…and remember you can call me to pick you up and drive you home) so I thought it would to do something you could remember.
At the risk of damaging your image irreparably in front of your friends at your party, I decided against working up a dance routine. That same hesitance about dancing was also present when I thought about a collage of pictures for you. Needless to say, as the first daughter/granddaughter/niece we were pretty liberal with the camera (unless you want your friends to see when you got a diaper change or bath). I also decided against an intentionally sappy card from one of Hallmarks’ best writers. I don’t know that a card could properly put in to words everything you are and besides, all anyone needs to do is spend 5 minutes in your company to realize just how confident, goofy, intelligent, beautiful, compassionate, clumsy, fun-loving, occasionally moody (you’re a teenager, we understand), and talented you are.
Instead I thought I would try, to the best of my abilities, to sum up this monumental birthday in my own words. You see, because no card could illustrate how I felt the moment I first held you in my arms.
I was yours. I felt a connection with you that, up until that point in my life, I never knew and something I have only ever felt three other times in my life (your brother, Hannah, and Emma being born were the other three times). You were my Megan…innocent, sweet, and smelling vaguely of sour formula but that didn’t matter because you were perfect.
I can’t begin to tell you what it has been like watching you grow up. Of course the time never seems to last long enough for those moments we look back at so fondly but I can tell you that it has been my honor to be a part of your life and be there to watch it no matter how quickly it seemed to pass any of us by. I have seen you go from a snuggling baby in my arms to a 16 year old young woman who has her entire life in front of her, waiting for her to take it.
But I hope you remember to be 16. Life flies by, moves a mile a minute, and any other speed cliché you want to attach to it. Enjoy each stop along the way because there will come that time when you wish to have just a moment of your youth again.
Never lose those endearing qualities that make you who you are because who you are is someone so unique and so special.
I hope you never find a boyfriend…ok; I did that one for your dad.
As Hannah and Emma grow up, I pray they grow up to be just like you.
When you find success, never let it go. When failure finds you, and believe me, it will find you (it finds all of us from time to time); shove it out of the way.
While I let you stay up later than your parents and generally get to be the fun uncle, you are my responsibility too. To that end, I will push you if needed and protect you with the same intensity and ferocity as your parents.
Happy Birthday Megan. Sixteen or not, when I look at you, I will always be able to see you as a baby, cradled in my arms. Not because I long for those days again but because that’s when I first met you and you changed my life. From the first moment I held you until the day I draw my last breath on this Earth, I will always love you and I will always be your Uncle Jimmy. And you will always be my Megan.