Two. Two years ago I didn't know you. I couldn't imagine the little person you'd turn out to be. A sometimes incredibly, painfully shy girl, who at other times is so unafraid that my heart is in my throat as I watch you fly down the big slide at the park. You are scared of loud noises, big crowds, dogs, but you are also so independent you insist on doing most anything and everything yourself. "No, I'll do it," you insist. Even when you can't. Or shouldn't.
I didn't know how you would be the best part of every day, even when you try my patience as you so often do. I didn't know how your smile would light up a room, that your laugh would be my favorite sound in the world, how a hug could make up for so many other things that seemed wrong. I didn't know how much I would love to read to you, talk to you, play with you. How much I would miss you when I wasn't with you, even if I desperately needed a break.
I didn't know how much I would love you. That it was even possible to love someone this much.
Now I know. And I wouldn't change anything. Happy birthday, Clare.