Three years ago, you joined this crazy party. I remember holding you in the Heisman pose minutes after your arrival and asking the nurse for a picture.
“About how many of these per week do you typically take?” I asked her.
“This is the first one,” she replied with a tone that made it clear she was of the opinion that I was a jack ass.
“Seven layers, bitch!” your mom would yell at me a few weeks later when I lamented how long it was taking for her to recover. (The “seven layers” referred to the seven layers of tissue the doctors apparently had to cut through to get to you).
When we had our alone time, I just stared in amazement at your beautiful face and tried to decide whether you looked more like an Amelia or a Harper.
A few weeks prior, your mom and I had looked up the meanings of both. Words and phrases like “industrious” and “hard working” were associated with Amelia. I recall the phrase “free spirited” being used in association with Harper. Therefore naming you Harper, I suggested, would increase your chances of becoming a stripper or a hooker.
And so it was that you became Amelia Ann Chrestman. Your arrival here was in stark contrast to your brother’s tumultuous beginnings.
I have already written my thoughts to you on the circumstances you find yourself in, being in this crazy ass family. I live with a near constant worry that you will one day have the perception that because we sometimes have to spend more time with your brother because of his challenges that we love you any less. I worry that when we pull stunts like we are this weekend — by having a two-day fundraiser for kids like Kohl on YOUR birthday — you will get your feelings hurt.
I hope that in being sensitive to these things, I find ways to show you how much I love you and how much you mean to me. That’s why, even though today is day two of our fundraiser, we will find ways to make today all about you too. That’s why tomorrow, your Pop has agreed to dress up like a merman for your mermaid party.
So, young Amelia, although you are unimpressed with Mickey Mouse.
Even though you are unimpressed with the Cookie Monster.
I love you so much it literally gives me butterlies. It warms my soul. I love you more than words can express.
Happy Birthday, my little lady.