[Today is Finn’s birthday. In the midst of everything we’ve got going on – we’re moved! and unpacking… – I wanted to take a moment to thank her for being born and for, y’know, everything else along the way.]
Thank you for your love. Thank you for each moment that you choose to spend with me. Thank you for deciding to multiply those moments into forever.
Thank you for being such a motherfucking badass. Thanks for being an amazing example of what it means to be dedicated, what it means to work your ass off, stay up all night, get shit done. Thank you for not settling, not being satisfied with almost or just-about. Thanks for getting riled up, getting me riled up, for being the answer to my oft-counseled caution. No, not the answer – the compliment.
Thanks for all the compliments. Thank you for making me feel beautiful, treasured. Thank you for that look you give me sometimes, like you won some prize in a contest you didn’t know you’d entered. (I know, I’m as baffled as you are, though I’m pretty sure of who won what, exactly, here).
Thank you for the nicknames, the thousand in-jokes we can’t explain, our shorthand, all those times I’m unable to put something into words and you just know, or you don’t know but it doesn’t matter, you’re with me anyway. Thank you for the fact that there are so many conversations I can’t complete without the accompaniment of the whole of our many memories. Thank you for laughing at yourself, and for trying to teach me how to do the same. Thank you for taking me just-seriously-enough, for indulging me without spoiling me. (Okay: mostly without spoiling me). Thank you for that mischievous grin and for how frequently you wield it.
Thank you for sunflowers. Thank you for silly groggy impromptu proposals at 7am in our kitchen. In retrospect, they are the only kind of proposals I’d want.
Thank you for constantly push-pulling-stretching-testing-aching-breaking-bending me into growing into a better person. Thank you for calling me out on my bullshit and telling me truths when it counts. When it doesn’t, thank you for the practical jokes. They drive me crazy, but you always keep me guessing.
Thank you for your fierce independence, and for respecting mine. For knowing that we are infinitely stronger as two individuals, bringing all of these gifts and lessons and strengths and weaknesses to one another, than we ever could be if we became one indistinct “we.” Thank you for encouraging me endlessly, and for letting me support you. I am so lucky to get to see the thousand tiny ways you have changed the world already, and grateful to play the smallest part in that.
Thank you for being bold enough to kiss me that night. Thank you for being so utterly, hypnotically charming. Thank you for that first “I love you,” which tilted my world ever so slightly into this amazing thing we are now. Thank you for getting lost in the woods with me when it really mattered. Thank you for putting in the time, the effort, the work to keep us running smoothly. Or, failing that, thank you for sticking with it when it would be easier not to.
Thank you for taking my hand in the middle of a crowded grocery store when my blood sugar is low and I’m consumed with murderous rage. (You really are quite brave, you know). Thank you for introducing me to whisky, Dolly Parton, and a rudimentary understanding of Indonesian history. Also to your parents; that was big.
Thank you for putting up with me even when I’m a gooey, lovestruck romantic – like now, for instance – even though it embarrasses you to no end. And thank you for a thousand more things I’d never be able to list (at least not without making you blush): the immeasurable comfort of your sleeping frame beside me at 3am, the way your hair curls when it’s raining, certain things you have said to me in our quiet spaces that I will never forget.
You are the kind of girl who makes me want to write long, rambling love letters. For that – for you – I am so, so thankful. Happy birthday, bella.