It occurred to me some time later that the picture was familiar, and I thought maybe that's why I loved it so much. But familiar why? I looked for the reason in the only place I knew to search. It's here. In this picture from your 1st year baby book.
In the photo above, you are steeling yourself for a live performance at the Abbey. You were having a hard day, if I recall, and you were setting yourself away from everyone to get ready, to prepare because there was a task at hand and your focus had to be turned away from your own needs and to the job in front of you.
Shortly after both photos were taken you were smiling, gregarious, charming - your usual self - your public self. I love that you, the hugging, funny, kind-to-everyone you.
But I also love the you in these photos. The determined you, the hard-working, self-sacrificing, undeterred by 'no' you. This is as much you as the other and I so admire and respect this you, as this you works in the background so the other you can be out in front. No certificates for this you, although we know the truth. This you is truly remarkable.
As you head off into your adult years, as in all the years before, I encourage you to seek adventure, to taste new things, know yourself and take the risks that make sense for you, and a few that don't (as long as it's reasonably safe to do so). And as you walk further and further away from the baby in that picture, remember that she was a little force, who's become quite the power, and there is no limit to where she can go.
It'd also be great if you'd leave your dad and me the remote for the TV. It's been eighteen years. Cut us a break, would you?
Happy Birthday, Blue. We love you.