Dear Clare,

It’s almost your birthday. Nineteen is the big number! I keep thinking that you’re so much younger, but you’re not. I remember our young days when us three girls were bouncing around stages and squishing mashed potatoes between the gaps in our teeth.

I remember our Halloween costumes that mom would make, and how we would stand on the front steps for our first day of school pictures every year.

I remember waiting at the corner for the bus. I remember waiting at the start line for the gun to go off with you next to me.

I remember pulling an all-nighter just to watch all of the X-Men movies.I remember making blanket forts in our room.

I remember trying to climb trees and dig holes under the fence for a secret entrance.

20160925_110518 I miss when you had crazy, unmanageable hair. Look how cute you are! These baby pictures were a gem to find.

When you come visit me, we need to go to Sprague’s Maple Farm because you haven’t experienced what heaven tastes like.

I miss how all three of us sisters are together. I can’t wait until you come home! We can watch movies, bake cookies, stay up all night, take lots of naps and cuddle with Sully. It’ll be a great time.

I miss you terribly, and I wish I could be in Tennessee to give you hugs and birthday cake. Treat yo’self at school, and make sure everyone knows it’s your birthday by going for your run in a cape and a crown. 😉

Some advice for you to have as a newly minted 19-year-old:

-Don’t try to change yourself for anyone
-You are beautiful and awesome the way you are
-If you’re having a bad day, think about three good things that happened (also pet a puppy or kitten)
-The things you’ve done in the past, are in the past
-Take some risks, and put yourself out there
-Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
-Know that your family loves you, and we will always love you no matter what

s6r_1701 (She’s the one being carried like the prettiest princess I know she is.)

I hope you celebrate with lots of food and friends! Have the happiest birthday, Tud. I can’t wait to have you back!

xox Em

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