First, happy birthday.

How do I say thank you for your friendship? If I had to believe in fate, it would be because you and I met at a place I almost didn’t go to and I read a piece I was almost too afraid to write, because you were brave enough to say hello and I wasn’t so stupid as to leave without knowing you. Since then, we’ve talked nearly every day. You are a fundamental part of my life, and I love you.

I wanted to do something silly but thoughtful for you, so I decided to do a slideshow of things that remind me of you.

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(Hint: there’s 18 things)

Some of these will be really weird for anyone else, but I think you’ll get them.

You are so, so very smart and talented. You are dedicated, creative, empowered and brave. I want you to know this as you go into adulthood. The world will be difficult, but I don’t think anything could stop you. One day you will get your book published, and I will be first in line. I believe in you, because I’ve seen it in you. And you see things in myself that I would have never dreamt of. Thank you for your constant support, both in life and fiction.

Happy birthday, because that means, despite it all, you made it.