Every day we do things, say things, make decisions, choose friends. Each day adds upon the first, the joke continuing, the story unfolding, the friendships building, the love returning. Up close one day is hardly distinguishable from another, but take 16 steps back and the whole becomes clear. The love, the nurture, the stings, the tears, the laughter, the growth, the layers of days built upon days that create a perfectly un-perfect 16 year old.

You were celebrated by friends that appreciate you, siblings that adore you, and adults that admire you because of all the things you’ve done and all the things you’ve said day after day. Embrace all the love and gratitude and let it fuel you on the days you don’t want to smile, on the days all decisions feel wrong because these friendships you are building are for life and the love you are giving only makes your story richer, bigger and brighter.