1991. There are a lot of things I don't remember about that year. I barely remember the people who were in my classes in high school, or what fashion styles were "in". I don't even remember my birthday that year.
But there is day I have not forgotten, even after all these years: March 10, the day I became an aunt.
She came into the world on a beautiful spring day. It was a Sunday. As I heard the news of her arrival, I looked out the window and saw the bluest sky. I wanted to remember that day, so one day I could tell her what a beautiful day it was the day she was born.
She was a joy to be around from the start, and I was lucky enough to live with my sister during the first months of her life. I helped take care of her, and enjoyed every minute I spent with her.
The years have passed, and that sweet girl has now become a young woman. She is everything one could have dreamed, she is intelligent, beautiful, kind, humble, giving, loving; the list could go on.
I've had the privilege to watch her grow up and overcome obstacles along the way, and become the person she is today.
In a week, she will be graduating high school. It seems like only yesterday I saw her for the first time, and now she is getting ready to begin the next phase of her life. There are so many things I want to tell her but simply can't find the right words.
I want her to know how very proud I am of her, of the person she has become, and how much I admire her. There have been hurdles along her path that many people could have used as excuses. Instead, she has risen above them, set her goals high, and achieved them.
I want her to know how proud I was the night it was announced she had the highest GPA of her class, how every time I think of the little girl she was, and how far she has come, the tears fill up my eyes. Of how thankful I am to have her in my life, to have her setting a good example for my own children, and how big are the shoes she has left for them to fill.
I want to tell her how much I love her, but even that doesn't seem enough to express how I feel.
I want her to know how thankful I am for the bond we have; that she can always come to me no matter how much distance separate us, or how long it has been since we last talked.
I want to tell her the rest of her life is just around the corner. That the years she spends in college will help her become the adult she is destined to be.
I want her to know that there will be obstacles along the way, some will seem insurmountable, but most of them seldom are.
I want to remind her to believe in herself and in the power of her dreams. I want her to know the measure of success is not in material possessions, but rather in the happiness you feel from having lived your life to the fullest.
I want her to know every day will bring a lesson; and it's up to her to learn from it.
That life should be lived without regrets, that there is a lesson in every moment, and that she should cherish all the good ones because they are the ones that will carry you through the tough times.
I want to tell her how much I'm going to miss her, how incredibly proud I am of her, and how much she means to me.
Thank you Stephanie for the gift you are to me.