Happy Birthday Leah!!
You may be all the way over in the land where they use the same word for hello and goodbye (a clear sign they are ultra relaxed) but it only means your birthday will be delayed by about three hours. I think you should look at it as an excuse to celebrate longer. You only turn thirty once... did you honestly love your twenties so much that you don't welcome a brand new decade of adventure? My lovely dearest little sister, I was going to come up with a list of advice for you as you enter into this new world of pretend adulthood but I realized that it doesn't matter. At this point in your life you clearly know that things must be learned individually to make any difference whatsoever. No, no advice for you. You aren't the type to need it. I know that if you want my advice you'll ask for it. What I realized today when I was walking and thinking about you and how much I love you and what I would like to tell you on your birthday is only how much I have learned from YOU in the last thirty years. I don't know how I lucked out to have not only a big sister to learn from and look up to but also a little sister to quietly teach me about what's truly important in life.
a few of the many things i've learned from my little sister
~ you can only take orders for so long and then it's healthy to put your foot down and say "no i will NOT go get you a drink of water rachael, mom says i don't have to listen to you"
~ even rubber dishgloves can be magically transformed into princess accessories.
~ thunderstorms and fire alarms are two things that make the pain of sharing a room worth it.
~ if you just smile, your opponents will never know you're bluffing.
~ Dumbo never loses its charm. The Little Mermaid does.
~ courage is attending the same schools your two sisters went to and having all the same teachers.
~ stick to your decisions even when it seems the world is against you.
~ small talk is exactly that.
~ love is quiet and constant.
~ it's possible to think for yourself and to disagree without being rude.
~ being serious and believing in magic can coexist in one person.
~ popcorn is a food group and so is frozen yogurt.
~ zoo animals need to be visited by people who love them and give them relief from whiny children.
~ anything and everything is better when shared with a sister.
~ carrots should be eaten whole and preferably on vineyard hunts.
~ trust must be earned and then kept.
~ books can be real friends.
~ music controls moods. (just put down the arcade fire and back away slowly).
~ the sure cure for your sister's hangover is to surprise her in the mountains for HER thirtieth birthday.
~ don't apologize if you aren't sorry.
~ most emotions can be conveyed with the eyes alone.
~ sharing is more fun.
~ being tall is just as hard as being short. (maybe harder)(ok fine, it's harder).
~ do not be fake.
That last one is the main thing I think I learn from you over and over again. I look at you and I see a woman who lives her life as she chooses but without hurting anyone around her in the process. Rather, you enrich the lives of everyone around you. There is no selfishness, no envy or greed. You are genuine in all things. Never fake. When you're generous, it's because you want to share. When you help, it's because you want to make something or someone better. When you say nice things, it's because you're truly thinking them. I don't know very many people that have mastered being completely themselves without re-forming to those around them over and over again every day. You are simply a real girl, as hard as it may be sometimes. Thank you for always inspiring me to find and be myself. Whenever I'm in doubt, I just do my best impression of you.
I love you so very much.
May your birthday be so full of magic that it spills over into all of the days following...