A Letter to My Daughter on the Occasion of the 42nd Anniversary of Her Birth

August 17

Miss Meliss and Me, Well Our Feet at La Concha

It was the New Math that threw me, I just never could get the hang of it, and it has traumatized me since 8th grade. And because of that I wonder how you, my darling can be 42 when I am just 35 myself?
Using the nutty thinking of the New Math era let’s look at this: (Me= i) (You = u)
i was born in 1950 u were born in 1970. (u =1970) – (i = 1950) = 20. So shouldn’t you be 20 years old today? You always wanted to be older, but this 42 thing…it irks me.

So my darling today is your birthday. You are an amazing woman, talented and funny, snarky and sweet.

You are the kind of friend everyone should have, and as a daughter, well you are the best.

Since you were very young, you felt the need to take care of me, and called me “Little Mommy.” One day you came home from school and sheepishly asked if you could have some five pocket jeans that were not handmade. You painstakingly outlined your need, and made sure my feelings were not hurt, by saying how much you loved all of the clothes I made for you. You are like that; you think through the problem, see the end result, outline the need and offer the solution. And of course as a kid the solution suited your immediate needs perfectly.

Sometimes the solution was to dye your hair fuchsia.

There was the first Christmas we spent alone in California. You borrowed records (yes vinyl records) from the library and made tapes of my favorite songs. Then you decorated boxes with glitter and packaged them up beautifully. I will always hold that gift in my heart.

You have made my days special (and frustrated and maddened me as well). But I can never forget the “Ice Skating Barbie” doll holding close up tickets to Stars on Ice you gave me for Christmas.

And the times you faxed my picture to our clients and vendors and ordered them to send me birthday flowers. Sixteen flower arrangements arrived at our office! You sweet darling!

Then there was the Valentine’s Day in Fresno, when you had to take two buses in the rain, and came dressed in hot pants, black stockings and your tap shoes, bearing a rose, and sang “ What I did For Love” to me in my office you brought everyone to tears, I tear up thinking about it now.

Once when the internet was just starting, you made lots of online friends (still do). You invited two women that were visiting San Francisco to come and meet you at my house. They said something like “ You know we are Lesbians, will your mother mind?” You answered “ Well only if you smoke!”

Your creativity and generosity of spirit amaze me.

I bragged about how you opened your home in Dallas to some people displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
And you have lovingly fostered dozens of rescued doggies.

Your sharp wit, delights and always leaves me searching for a retort.

So back in August 1970, the only day I did not go to the beach that summer, you were born. It was hot and humid, a Tuesday 2:25 p.m., at Patterson Army Hospital in Fort Monmouth, NJ. Soon to be EX-president Nixon had ordered an energy saving program and the air conditioning in the hospital was kept at 82. Even-the-maternity-ward. I sweated for you!
Your annual visit to La Paz is wonderful. We have fun, just the two of us having coffee, eating out, laying on the beach, just being.

Melissa at Maria California in La Paz

The beautiful home and life you have created in Dallas with such loving and interesting friends are a testament to you.

So my sweet Miss Meliss, today, have an extra hot, non fat, decaf, no whip mocha for me. After your pedicure, your swim and later your luxurious bath, turn your eyes and heart to the south and I will turn north and toast your 42nd year.
I love you!