15: Birthday Mad Libs

Dear Melina,

Holy shit, what can I say? Maybe I shouldn’t start a letter like that, especially a birthday one, but your mouth is pretty much as awful as mine, so I’m going with my gut here.

It’s been a year, hasn’t it? That might truly be an understatement, but these days, it’s the best I can do. This letter, though, isn’t about me. It’s about you. And how much you’ve grown and matured over the last 365 days. It’s also about all the things that happened during this past trip around the sun. Obstacles you hurdled. Problems you’ve solved. Ways you’ve changed.

You took an autism diagnosis in stride and blossomed into a more confident young lady. You started high school and handled a rigorous schedule beautifully. You devoted yourself to your writing and wrote quality essays and stories. You found a sport you enjoy—jump roping or jumping rope, which is it?—and consistently applied yourself. You stepped up when Grandma died, when I was away for a week helping my sister, and when I needed to see Grandpa. You’ve tried more foods, let go of some routines, and became more tolerant (I think).

You’ve also let your sense of humor show more over this past year, and I have to say, you’re pretty funny. Which got me thinking: How could I make this birthday letter funny?

That’s when I said to myself, funny + writing = Mad Libs. Maybe Birthday Mad Libs already exist, but I only had so much time, and so I did this quick search of some birthday messages for daughters, and I’ve converted them into a Mad Lib style. Note that I also didn’t have time to figure out formatting, so I made a quick decision on how to write these out. I think you’ll get it.

  • Being your             (noun) has been the best job of my life. Keep growing into the special             (noun) you are!
  • You may think that only children             (verb) their parents, but know that I have always           (verb) you. I learn so much from you every day, and I can’t wait              (verb, infinitive) where this new year brings you!
  • Happy,              (adjective), brave—these are the things we want for our               (plural noun). I am so proud to call you my                (noun).

I could go on, but I won’t. But I will challenge you to answer these in the funniest way you can AND to make up your own Mad Libs (I think you could do a pretty swell job, actually). Of course, I expect that I’ll hear all about them on our daily walks. In fact, I’m looking forward to it.

So keep growing and maturing and developing that quirky personality of yours. Keep writing, singing, playing the piano and violin. Keep interrupting me to tell me what your character just did. We’re down to three years with you left in the house with us. The countdown is on!

Happy Birthday, my sweet! Here’s to many more Mad Libs.

I love you,

Photo of 15 by Waldemar on Unsplash.com.

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