To My Love,
On this day, the eve of your 4th birth day, we celebrate 16 sweet years of your presence on earth. I remember the day you were born like it was yesterday…It was Tuesday, February 29, 2000 and I was a junior in high school. School was over for the day. I’m not sure if there was cheerleading practice, but I remember being at home that afternoon. Your mom had a doctor’s appointment and apparently her and one of our aunt’s decided to walk around the mall and she started having contractions. Well baby girl, your mother is hard headed, so what did she do?…come all the way back home while in labor, only for us to have to turn around and drive her all the way back up to the hospital! I remember my mom getting “the phone call” and we dropped everything we were doing to make that drive! Well…your nerdy auntie still had homework to do so I grabbed my backpack and headed to the car. When we reached the hospital, I remember sitting on the floor in the hallway right outside your mom’s room trying to hurry to finish my homework while keeping an eye on the action inside. The staff said only 2 people were allowed in the room, but when I heard the screaming followed by the “Here she comes!” announcement and more screaming, I jumped up and ran into the room just in time to see your entrance into this world (along with other visuals that have been imprinted in my brain while I’ve tried to erase that part of my memory)…and my heart melted once again…
We were instantly inseparable. I spent my senior year of high school sharing a room with you and your sister. Where I went, the two of you followed. So much so that people some times asked if you two were my children (that even followed through college and grad school). There was even a time during college that you came down to Albany to stay with me for like a week. I’m pretty sure that was against ALL KINDS of school rules considering I was living on campus, but your babysitter needed a break and your sister was in school by that time so it was me and you living the college life. Oh yeah, and then there were the summer breaks in Illinois when you and your sister were in lab with me learning about microbiology. I remember your little hands trying to stay inside of the smallest gloves I could find for you just so you could help auntie “take the water out of one tube and put it in another tube.”
As you cross this pivotal moment in your life, I hope you know that I live my life to make it better for you and your sister. The choices that I make, the things that I don’t do, and the goals that I strive to accomplish are so I can be a role model for you. In my time away from home, I have mentored and continue to mentor young girls, sharing with them lessons I’ve learned that I long to share with you. No, I’m not perfect. Yes, I have made mistakes. I have some much on the inside of me that’s ready to spill over into your life to make your journey a little easier.
So on this day, the eve of your Sweet Sixteen, I’m here to tell you that you are my heart. My soul rejoices when you are joyful and grieves when you are troubled. As your auntie, I am here to listen to you and to support you in your endeavors. My job is to have fun with you and to keep your secrets (well…mostly). You are Mine. I am Yours.
Happy Sweet 16th Z.I.B.!
Auntie Stassi Nicole