Sixteen years ago today, I was a junior at the University of Georgia. Finals were going on. I had my written final exam for my Spanish class that day. I was sound asleep when I got the phone call from my brother at five in the morning. I was groggy when he told me that his wife, Kim had started to go into labor, and they were heading to the hospital. He wanted me to let the rest of the family know. I told him that I would do so.
After I relayed my brother’s message to my parents and my sister, I was wide-awake, and I could not go back to sleep. So, I got ready and tried to study for my final exam with very little success. As I made the drive into Athens, I was excited because there was going to be another member to our merry band of outlaws.
I blew through the exam. As I handed it in, the student teacher looked at me and she told me that I would not get a good grade and it would affect my overall grade. I told her that I did not care. I was going to be an uncle again, and it was more important for me to be with my family on this joyous occasion than taking a test. When I saw you for the first time at the hospital, I knew that you were one of us. Over the years, you have nothing but a joy to have in my life.
My niece, on this your sixteenth birthday, you will never know how much of a positive effect you have had on me. While it is simple phrase, I hope that when I say “Happy Birthday,” I hope that you know how much I love you and how much you mean to me.