Little Bit,

You, my youngest, Miss Lizzy, Elly belly, Little bit, Elizabeth, are 19 today. You made sure to mention you’d be waiting for your birthday post last night. They matter to you. They matter to me too. Every time you turn a year older, it is the last time I will be writing a post for that age. Somehow 19 feels MUCH older than 18 to me.

You’ve spent a year in college now. You’ve come home only for visits. I’ve been out there to visit. You have taken new jobs and talked endlessly about them. I smile as you tell me about the senior living people and the work you do there. I imagined freshmen coming to your intro-ducktion and hit with the force of your personality while you talked up language courses.

You go floating down the Willamette. You volunteer with the safe ride program. You made friends and had relationships. You hatched quail to keep on your apartment balcony for eggs. You go running into life.

You care deeply about others. We took you to Disney World as a surprise for your birthday–a bit early while you were here. You were surprised. You knew that it was hot, high season, and expensive. What else were we to do with Ellen’s dream closing and the Great Movie Ride that you didn’t even remember? At lunch that day though, Sunshine got nervous that their lunch wasn’t going to be vegan, though the waitstaff took note. You called the waiter back and were going to order a veggie burger just so you could trade with her. I was puzzled, because of how the seats are in the scifi drive in, I didn’t know the anxiety part. I did know something though: you are a meat eater. A very happy meat eater. But, you were going to help out Sunshine, because you cared. You send Momal cards and notes. I can’t even begin to tell you how much that means to her. Both these things mean a lot to me too. You’re sometimes wild, grouchy, and loud–but the caring–that will serve you well. It makes me proud of you.

You undoubtedly get up to all sorts of things you don’t tell me about away from home. I get to hear shadows of it in asides. I worry, but I also know from experience that you will call for help, and when things are rough. You are good at that. I appreciate it. I know you have a good head on your shoulders too. You may be prone to the impulsive things and all the bad judgment of youth–but you also think things out.

You found a reason to make great grades for yourself–so you did.

You also are the best one to curl up and take a nap with when you are home. You share new things with me. I mean, I am sure that I would have never watched one minute of Ru Paul’s Drag Race without you. (Or you know–Hannah Montana for that matter) I definitely wouldn’t have gone to a Christmas drag show spectacular with Milk and the rest.

You love your dogs too. We could have stayed home when you came for summer break. You would have been happy enough with Skeeter. (She’s been ours for 5 years now) Buster even loves you. (and of course, you’d be happy to yell at Lola for face-licking)

Most of all baby girl, you bring an endless amount of love and joy into our lives. I am so glad you came into this world and changed it for the better. I love you.

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