Today is a great time to let you and everyone else know something: You are awesome. Sometimes I think God created rooms simply so you can walk in and illuminate them. I remember that your brother was born ready for the party. But, during your first week of life, you slept a lot. At six days old, you lifted your head, surveyed the room, then snuggled into me with a contented sigh that said, “Yes. This will do nicely.” I thought my daughter would be a rough-and-tumble, tree-climbing girl like me. But that small action summed up your entire personality. You were a little lady.
This past year has been a challenge, and Tyson’s illness took a huge toll on you. The two of you had never been separated for an extended period of time. It didn’t dawn on me until a month after his diagnosis. There were so many small fears that you overcame. Up to that point, you were part of a dynamic duo and going solo made you jittery. You’ve handled all of the transitions with elegance and courage. It hasn’t gone unnoticed. You’re a young lady who can speak up for herself with poise and confidence now. Sometimes, when families go through hard times, the child with the fewer immediate problems can feel invisible. I need you to know that no matter how it seems, I see you sweetheart.
You’re at the age where there is a pressure to be perfect. You’ll see images of “perfection” that don’t look like you. There will probably be undue pressure to change who you are. Every young woman, and especially young woman of color, experiences this. It is not always easy. Whenever I talk about “Black Girl Time,” I think of you. I think of that even in your strength, you still need my encouragement and care. I’m always here to remind you that you are BB the Great and your raw material is beautiful and amazing. I’m proud of the young lady you are and who you are becoming.
I wouldn’t have even known to ask the universe for someone like you. You perfected our family. You’re my partner in comedic crime and one of my favorite people to laugh with. Never lose your spirit, baby girl. Life may sometimes try to snatch joy from your hands. Laugh at it. Laugh and dance and sing. And when you can’t find a song, you can find me. I’m here to hold you up and make sure you have everything you need to become the great human I know that you’re destined to be.
I love you, BB the Great. Happy thirteenth Birthday.