So, some people that I love scads and oodles have had birthdays. Like, big, milestone birthdays.

Cousin Sparky turned 18 a couple weeks ago. It feels weird, knowing that she’s officially a grown-up now when I still remember her as my baby cousin, the one with the curls who wanted to borrow my teddy bear. The rough-and-tumble tomboy who couldn’t understand how I could sit still long enough to read an entire book.

Times like these, I worry about missing so much. Because I did — I missed years of your life, years that I won’t get back. In a lot of ways, I feel like you grew up when I wasn’t looking. I worry that you’ve moved past me, that there’s no K-shaped space in your life anymore. And I want there to be. I want to be there for your birthdays, and Christmases, for happiness and heartbreaks and story-swapping.

Basically, I love you. Like, a lot. And I miss you. Also a lot.

And then. And then, Milady had her birthday, just yesterday. It’s the second birthday of hers I’ve gotten to spend with her. And I just . . . it was quiet and simple and perfect. And I want dozens more like it, full of her smiles and laughter, of kisses and cards and cracking jokes with family. (Though with fewer lectures. And less homework. No more homework on birthdays. Can we make that a thing?)

Love you, darling. Happy birthday.

I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.

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