I hated it. I thought she should have her own friends, grown-up friends. I thought there was something wrong with her, because it didn’t make any sense to me how a woman could consider a child her very best friend.
Now I get it.
Today you are seven, Emma, and I can tell you with certainty that you are my BFF.
It kind of weirds me out that you know what BFF means, because it was just yesterday that you were a baby and not at all capable of understanding or even being a friend. Oh, sure, I still tell you that you’re my baby – and I always will – but we both know you’re not a baby at all anymore.
You’re strong and kind and the most charming creature I’ve ever known. Like the rest of the world, I find myself constantly looking for new ways to make you happy, because your happiness is so sincere and contagious. When you smile, I smile, and I want nothing more than to hold on to that feeling of pure joy for as long as I can.
Your generosity inspires me, little girl, and I wonder sometimes how someone like you could have come from me. You give without doubt or fear, absolutely sure that there is always enough for everybody. I’m trying to learn this from you.
I’m trying, too, to be as confident as you.
That’s special, you know. When I was shopping for your birthday present, I was frustrated by how few options there were for girls your age. All the clothes and the toys were the same, and almost none of it fit your individual style. It made me realize how amazing it is that you are able to be exactly who you are with almost no confirmation from the outside world that it’s OK. Surrounded by tulle and bows and hearts and ruffles, I was suddenly exceedingly proud to know that you would have hated all of it.
I promise to always be there to remind you that it’s OK, that who you are is beautiful and more than beautiful. I promise to never let you forget that you are smart, strong, and a much needed light in this world. I promise to always be on your side, to remind you of why you are magnificent, and to always be ready with a hug and a hand when you’re scared.
Because that’s what BFFs do.
Happy birthday, Emma.