The intent of this letter is to express my gratitude to you, with hopes to encourage you, as you celebrate your 18th birthday for the second time.
“Happy Birthday, Deri. Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday!”
I woke up, this morning, with you on my mind — excited for your new chapter. Thankful that God allowed us to celebrate your life, one more time. Though, we’re hundreds of miles apart, you’re still dear to my heart. Distance couldn’t separate or break our bond.
From changing my diapers to watching me walk down the aisle, your love has stood the test of time through every stage of my life. You have gracefully supported and encouraged me in all of my endeavors — often pushing aside your plans to celebrate mine.
I can’t count the number of times you travelled hundreds of miles, alone, to show your support or to just spend time with your youngest sister. Thank you for always being there.
Thank you for being a nurturer to so many of us. Thank you for your many sacrifices and acts of love. Thank you for being the creative, intellectual that you are.
Watching you overcome adversity and smash your goals inspired me, as a young, black girl, to pursue higher education — to not settle for the life that our ancestors lived. But to dream and achieve my goals. One of the reasons, I chose my major and wrote for the paper was because of your belief in me. You labelled me as a journalist when I refused to speak it. For that, I thank you. Thank you for the podcast, the Ted talks, the motivational text messages, and the support that you’ve shown over the course of time. It is greatly appreciated and will never be forgotten.
If, at any moment, you feel discouraged or question your impact on society — please return to this letter and remember little ol’ me.
I love you and am so thankful that God blessed me with an amazing sister like you!
Happy Birthday, dear Deri. Happy Birthday to you!
Your favorite sister, Sara