Erin, on your 15th birthday, I think I can accurately say that I’ve spent more time with you in the last year than any other time in your life. For me, it has been great! For you, maybe not so much, especially when my voice carries from the living room (which is my new home office) to your bedroom. But let me tell you why it has been so amazing to have this (hopefully) once in a lifetime opportunity of forced togetherness. First and foremost, I’ve been able to see up close how well you handle adversity. You are a matter-of-fact, no-nonsense type of person who adapts to disappointments and hardships with equal parts can-do attitude and sense of humor.
Take for example your 8th grade graduation. Like millions of other kids, an in-person graduation was replaced with a virtual one. Like the good sport that you are, you placated me while I took photos of you in your graduation gown in front of the school (even though you never stepped foot in there after March 13th) and in front of our lawn sign. I will admit it was a bit odd to watch your graduation ceremony from home on YouTube, but alas, here we were in 2020. We all know how hard you work for your stellar grades, but what we didn’t know was you’d be named Salutatorian of your class. Now I’m not normally one to brag about my kids’ accomplishments, but in this case, it feels worth bragging about, especially in light of your final trimester of middle school spent distant learning.
Of course, because of the dumpster fire that was 2020, you started high school at home. To date, you still haven’t walked the halls of your school as a student. The closest you came was taking photos for your student I.D. But being the kid that you are, you’ve attacked the start of your high school career with diligence and rigor. I’ve never had to wake you up for any of your online classes, but perhaps I should have double checked on you during finals. Midway through finals week you came running out of your room in a panic, asking what time it was. It turned out, you overslept and missed the start of your geometry final. I think you joined the class 15 minutes late, but still managed to finish taking your test with plenty of time to spare. Yep, that’s how you roll, kiddo. Panic may have been your first emotion, but it was quickly replaced by a steely resolve to get the job done. Is it too much for me to say you ended up with an A in geometry? Too bad. With so little to brag about this year, I think every accomplishment is worth celebrating.
With so much time on your hands this last 10 1/2 months, you’ve found ways to occupy yourself, be it skateboarding most days during the summer or refining your charcuterie board skills. To that end, our entire family is grateful. Who knew you’d become determined to make the perfect river of cured meats? Certainly not I, but this has not only surprised and delighted me, but also shown me your creative side.
I’ve also got to say that I’ve loved how close you’ve become with your sisters. I know you pretty much had no choice, but it truly was music to my ears hearing you and your sisters laugh as only sisters can while sitting in the back yard with your feet up on the edge of the fire pit eating s’mores. When you look back on this time, I do hope you’ll remember the bonds you formed with Olivia and Carrie. Now I know it’s not all sunshine and roses, there’s been plenty of fights and eye rolls, and shouts of shut-up (or worse), but for the most part our house has remained relatively peaceful.
Since soccer games and tournaments got cancelled for the year, you and Carrie spent hours and hours making all sorts of embroidery bracelets and a TikTok account called knotsbycarrie to highlight all of your hard work.
I know this is not the year any of us could have imagined or wished for, but you, my favorite middle child, have made it a little easier to bear. Happy Birthday! I love you!