I know you like numbers, so on your birthday, I worked some out for you.
Today marks three and a half decades since you were born.
When you were born, there were four point two billion people on earth.
Now there are seven billion.
You've seen seven leap years.
You've experienced four hundred and twenty full moons.
You've been around for twelve thousand, seven hundred and eighty four sunrises and sunsets.
The minute hand has traveled around the clock three hundred six thousand, eight hundred and sixteen times since you were born
Thirty five times, you've circled the sun.
That's a travel distance of twenty billion, four hundred twenty million, forty nine thousand, six hundred and seventy miles.
A journey that has lasted eighteen million, four hundred eight thousand, nine hundred and sixty minutes.
Just surviving all that is a cause worth celebrating, I mean, those are some pretty impressive statistics. But that's nowhere near the whole story. On this, your thirty fifth time around the sun, there are other numbers that begin to tell other stories about you. Such as...
One Hundred and Sixty - the distance in feet that you survived in a truck, tumbling over a cliff in the Rockies.
Eleven fingers and thumbs (well, now ten).
One Sister, one brother.
Thirty (or more) relocations.
The story begins to unfold here, but even still, there's so much more that the numbers can't tell. The countless meals, diaper changes, arguments, tears, laughs, sorrows, losses, gains dreams, nightmares, fears, friends, births, deaths and every experience in between can't be understood by quantifying them as statistics. Your journey is such a unique combination of everything that it can only be understood in the context of story.
Every good story has chapters where the main character experiences hardship. If there's no difficulty, hurt, pain or trials, the story gets dull and we end up not caring to find out what happens in the last chapters. But in a truly great story, when the main character overcomes against the odds (as they alsways do in the best stories) the stark contrast between the adversity and the triumph is what makes our hearts leap. We want to come back and read that story again and again because it becomes an anchor of hope to everyone else who identifies.
This is a year of milestones for you. A year of breakthrough. A year of conquering. A year of taking back territory, of tearing down walls, facing fears, storming past inhibitions, saying goodbye to chains, locks and lies and taking claim of what is rightfully yours - your life. Your freedom to live, to be healthy, to have joy, to celebrate, to wear bright colors, to dance, to sing, to walk a hundred miles, to absorb love, to share love, to speak boldly, to live the width.
Your story is worth reading. And this is the day that you became unafraid to tell it.
I'm proud of you.
I love you.
P.S. There's one last number to take note of... it's the balance of our bank account and it's not a very big number right about now, so I hope you don't mind that I haven't bought you a present yet. I want to take/send you shoe shopping or bra shopping or well, just shopping in general, so gimme a couple days and a few pianos to tune, and we'll make it happen.