March 21, 2004
Have I Told You?

Have I told you lately how proud I am of you?

Of your decision to finish school this spring, most especially, but also of your willingness to take responsibility for your actions ... of your tenacious sense of humor, even under the toughest of circumstances ... of your belief in your own self worth, and your unblinking faith in the future?

I'm proud of you.

Have I told you how happy I am, whenever I answer the phone and you are on the other end? That even when the news isn't good -- or when there is no news at all, and we just sit there for a moment and listen to seven hundred miles' worth of static -- just the sound of your voice, calling me from one end of the planet or another, is enough to reduce this mother's heart to four-day-old Jell-O?

I'm happy when you call me.

Have I told you how glad I am that you've been my daughter for the past twenty-one years? That in spite of all we've been through -- or perhaps because of it -- my life for you remains true and constant and unconditional?

I'm glad that you're my daughter.

Your Great Grandma Vert was a firm believer in the daily affirmation, decades before it came into New Agey vogue. At least once each day,  usually when I was least expecting it (or wanting it, frankly: children don't always like what's good for them), she would sweep me up into a big squishy bear hug and say "Have I told you today that I love you?" At the time I thought it was all sort of cornball and unnecessary, like the lace handkerchief she would tuck into my sweater pocket before school every morning. But the older I get -- the older you get -- the more I understand the importance of the daily statement of love and belief. It is what binds us together as family. It is what sustains us in the darkest of moments, and it is what sweetens the brightest of moments. And on a special occasion like today, when we celebrate your twenty-first birthday, it becomes one of the most important gifts we can give each other.

Have I told you today that I love you? If not ... I'm telling you now.

Happy Birthday, Kacie.


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check your voicemail!
that's *me* singing to you, over
seven hundred miles of static.