Before I write another word, the first thing I must do is wish a happy birthday to Lydia. I know most of you do not even know who Lydia happens to be, but I will share with you that she is one of the reasons I happen to get up every morning with a smile in my heart and show the world all the love that I feel. She's that friend you can call at three in the morning who will answer the phone and actually will get out of bed and bring you M&M's to eat after she's bailed you out of jail. Or, you know, will drive 3,000 miles because she didn't think you sounded quite right on the phone and she thought you might need some company. She's THAT friend. The one who shows up.
She also will tell you that I am THAT friend, too. My world collided with her world a very long time ago and we've been best friends ever since. I wish I could tell you that we've been inseparable, but that would not be accurate, at all. Still, I can honestly say that on this day, half a century ago, Lydia decided to bless all of us by choosing this planet to land on and this planet has not been the same since. She's the one who will happily grab the microphone and sing the loudest no matter what song happens to be playing. Lydia's the one who is your biggest cheerleader at whatever sport you're playing, but especially if it happens to be Steeler's football. She will absolutely throw you a parade, if you need one, and maybe even if you do not and she's always happy to invite you to take a spin across the dance floor. But what she's best at, honestly, is love. Unconditionally.
I was not making that up about getting up in the morning with a smile in my heart because of her. It's been over 30 years since she started shining in my own little orbit and I am so grateful for that light. Every.single.day. So, happy birthday, Lydia-Jane. May this spin around the sun be your most magical, love-filled and hopeful one, yet. I love you the most. I really and truly do.