Dear Amanda,

I know I write more Birthday Blogs to you than I do almost anybody else, but the truth is that your birthday has always been a pretty big deal to me.  23 years ago today you were born, and made me a mother,  and that makes today a double whammy.  I could tell you all the stuff I think is amazing about you, like that you still make me laugh all the time (and on purpose) and that I think you’re smart and gorgeous, but you know all that – or at least, you know I think it, even if you don’t some days.  I could tell you all of that, but I want to tell you some new stuff.

One year ago today, you took your college education to work, and it was so new – the idea of my kid having a full-time job, that I worried.   I never should have. I’ve heard clients say that they wish the Studio could clone you, because you’re that amazing. You should know too that sometimes Joe forwards me work emails you write – just because you’re so good with words.  I’m proud of you for that.

Over the last year you’ve moved out on your own, leaving the family umbrella and getting your very own place, all by yourself. 

Did you know that’s something I’ve never done? Lived alone?  When I thought about you going home alone at night to an empty house I was pretty freaked out, but you’re amazing.  The idea that you’re more independent than I ever have been fills me with joy.  

What else? You learned to drive a car.

I had started to wonder if any of you girls would bother, and it was sort of fine with me if you never did – on account of you know how I feel about cars and driving, but there you were all of a sudden, behind the wheel and doing fine.  Relaxed, confident – it was amazing.  I think you’ve inherited some other gene for driving, because you know that relaxed and confident isn’t how I do that particular thing.  It’s stunning to me to watch you turn left AND right and talk about it like you don’t even have to think about it that hard.

I’m so impressed with who you are, and how you’re turning out, and how you’re one of the hardest working, most thoughtful young women I know, but I wanted to tell you about something.  You know how I’ve been having a hard time learning to ride the road bike? I’ve been training so hard, and trying so hard, and well.  The truth is that I really suck a lot.  I can tell that.  I could tell it again this morning when I slowed down, failed to unclip and fell over like a tree and was just lying there in the dirt again.  AGAIN. This time I didn’t end up bleeding, but it was pretty freaking demoralizing.  I’d just struggled up a hill, and I don’t seem to be getting better at that, and sometimes when I’m training all I can think is that there’s a really good chance that I’ve made a mistake signing up for this, and that’s what I was thinking this morning.  8:15 in the morning. Lying in the dirt. Really thinking about crying and going back home – and I told myself the one thing that’s been making this possible for me. 

Amanda did it.  If Amanda can do it. I can do it.

Every time I say that to myself, I feel a bit better, and I get up out of the dirt, and I start riding again – and if I make it to Montreal this summer, it’s going to be because I’m too inspired by you, and too proud of you to quit on something you didn’t let yourself quit on – and I know you wanted to quit about a thousand times, because I’m 43 and I want to quit, and you were 22, and where a 22 year old gets that kind of moxie, I just can’t say. 

I love you.  Thanks for who you are.  It’s a pleasure to be your parent.


(PS to the blog. Amanda’s riding to Montreal to support the People with AIDS Foundation again this year, and most of her friends are too young and poor to really sponsor her.  If you feel inclined to throw a little birthday love her way – I bet she’d love a donation.)