Dearest Melanie

June 7, 1994, you came into this world protesting your separation from my womb with the loudest and most vigorous objection the Labor and Delivery unit at St. Francis Hospital had ever known. You cried all the way from the delivery room to the nursery until the nurses, veterans they may be at listening to babies cry, had to surrender and give you back to me. I eventually calmed you down— thank God for that— but the bond that we forged back then has endured. I am proud to say that you and I have a mother-and-daughter relationship that is as precious as it is rewarding.

You are an endless source of delight to me. You are not a showy flower bursting with a riot of colors, but rather, a blossom that needs a closer look to appreciate its beauty and fragrance.

People who don’t know you well see a quiet and soft-spoken kid in a corner of the room. I know better. The Melanie I know sings her lungs out with the car windows open while other cars pass by. (Yeah, sometimes I pretend that I’m not with you.) She does not blindly worship most teenybopper idols but picks her own artists who are original and insightful like her. (I love the lyrics of most of your song choices.) Her love for the arts has landed her in many school dramas/ musicals. (I admire your guts standing in front of an audience baring your soul out to them.) She enchants me with her quirky but amusing sense of humor. (You and I are forever exchanging comments and stories that send us both hysterically laughing.) She has a sense of style that floors me. (You can pick an ensemble together and make everything look good.) She also has a surprisingly mature understanding of people and human nature. (With this insight, you and I are always trying to bring out the best in each other.) Most of all, the Melanie I know is a warm and affectionate daughter who drowns me with kisses and smothers me with hugs that I can never get enough of.

I asked you once “What would life have been if I didn’t have you?” You replied, “Life would have gone on as usual. Not having known me, you wouldn’t have known what you missed.”

My most sensible daughter, logic may be on your side, but my mother’s heart knows better. A life without you would have been a longing unfulfilled, an aching emptiness and a lingering question. Thank God for giving me the gift of you!

Melanie, my prayer for you is that you flourish and bloom to the best of your ability. Reach for the sun as you unfold your petals and show the world the treasure that is you.

“Dance as if no one is watching, sing as if no one is listening and live as if each day were your last.”

Then, and only then, will the world know the amazing Melanie that I know and love.

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