Saturday was my girlfriend’s birthday. Julie turned 30 after what must have been an extremely influential year in her life. This beautiful Quebecois woman who fell in love with an introverted American soldier dealt competently with a seven-month-long deployment to Iraq, with strength and grace. She raised her daughter to be the fine young girl that she is. She moved into a new apartment, painted and furnished it, and made it her own, all ON her own. She developed her writing talents, she undertook kickboxing, she established herself as a senior at work. All the while keeping her unique personality and individuality intact, expanding it to include a boy who was far away and who she couldn’t ever call but instead wait for him to call.

For all that, I just want to say that I’m proud of you, Julie, and I feel lucky that 1) you let me in to your heart and 2) that we met at the time we did. I love you so much and I know that you love me too. Here’s to many more influential years in your life, but without all the stress and uncertainty that this one provided. =)