Today you are 23 years old. Happy birthday.
Do you remember your birthday last year? It was ABC-I, and you were at the college for that. I had spent the whole week working on what I would do for you. The night before, I was up ridiculously late watching movies on NetFlix while trying to perfect the mix I was making for your birthday. The girls thought this was kinda hilarious. I was sitting at that glass coffee table we had with the corinthian columns with my laptop starring alternately between the screen and the TV half paying attention to A Fish Called Wanda and pretending it was distracting me from my focus and worry over you. I had already made a blueberry pie for you earlier in the evening and had actually figured out how to write your name across it in pie dough which I alternately thought was too much/too obvious and super sweet because, hello!, I could write your name on the top of that pie in piecrust. Besides, it wasn't like I'd coated it in hearts or anything. I had also gotten you a bottle of the world's best sparkling blueberry juice and a blueberry smoothie thing (which I love) because you love blueberry as much as I do. The mix was my big thing though.
I still don't think you really got the mix. You probably never fully comprehended any of them. Most people don't, so don't feel bad. Just try to understand that these mixes have always been/will always be a reflection of the deepest bits of my heart. I tried to make it encouraging and prompting. I wanted you to know that you had someone's heart inside your hand and that this same person, this same heart, believed deeply in your goodness and had a great deal of hope for the future. It was a love letter.
Your birthday was pretty ridiculous day. Not at all bad, but not at all how either of us planned I think. I gave you a bag with your gifts as soon as I saw you that morning in front of everyone. You seemed genuinely surpised. (I don't think you ever have or ever will know what you really meant to me or the lengths to which I would go to show it.) You spent half your day with your ex-girlfriend who was having serious problems dealing with her father's illness, and I spent most of the day trying to help with ABC-I and spending as much time with the kids as possible.
One of the things I remember most from that day was you pulling me aside that evening and apologizing to me. Remember how we weren't dating? (Never, ever did...) I remember you pulling me aside from our friends and apologizing to me for how little time we'd been together. You said you wanted to be with me, but you felt like you had needed to help your ex, and I couldn't argue. Her issue was far bigger than I could understand, but you could...you had been there. You wanted me to be happy and to know I was important to you.
I still wish I had kissed you. Right there. Right then. In front of everyone. Things might have been different.
Then again, maybe not.
All I know is that everything can change in a year. It was less than 2 weeks later that you completely crushed my heart. You started dating someone no one could have expected, and I still have trouble grasping that change.
Somewhere in those two weeks apart, I lost you. Maybe I never had you; I don't know. I just know that it wasn't long before my best friend disappeared.
This past year has been crazy for both of us, and I know we aren't the people we were. I miss them, but I guess everything has to change. I hope the changes you have made, chosen, and are heading toward make you a happier person, a better man, and draw you closer to God. That's what really matters, what really counts.
I still miss you. Every day.
Happy, happy birthday, Sunshine. I hope today finds you cheerful, full of laughter, and knowing you are so very loved.
ps. Here's a new birthday mix for you:
- Warning Sign - Coldplay
- Rolling in the Deep - Adele
- Grenade - Bruno Mars
- Heart of Me - Green River Ordinance
- Same Changes - Weepies
- Split Screen Sadness - John Mayer
- I Won't Give Up - Jason Mraz
- Rumor Has It/Someone Like You - Glee Cast
- Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol
- Hallelujah - Rufus Wainwright
- Getaway - Train
- Friends, Lovers, Or Nothing - John Mayer
- Summer Skin - Death Cab for Cutie
- How He Loves - David Crowder Band
- Someone that You Use to Know - Gotye
- Edge of Desire - John Mayer
- Sparks - Coldplay
- Mississippi - Train
- Call Me On Your Way Back Home - Ryan Adams