Today you are 40 years old - but believe me when I say that you don't look a day over, oh, say, 25 or so.
Do you know that I still remember the very first time I met you? In Ann Parke's basement - I was there to keep a very young Will and Spencer (before Sam and Beeen!) and the two of you were off to do something-or-other. But I remember rounding the corner of the lime green wall down there to see you crouched down telling a very nervous Will that you were going out with A.P. but that he got to stay and play with Spencer and his "friend" Becca. And the rest, as they say, is history. :)
Thank you. Thank you for being one of my dearest, closest friends. For being my sounding board so often; for being on the short list of people I call when I really need to talk to someone about something. Thank you for letting me love your boys SO fiercely and letting them be such a huge part of my life and always always trusting me with them. I would lay in front of a bus for them, and I mean that. Thank you for ALL that I have learned about life and love and motherhood and friendship from you.
You are one of the strongest, kindest, most dedicated, most loyal people I will ever know. If you'd told me in that basement playroom that day years ago that I'd just met someone who would, in just a few years time, be someone that I would soon consider such a dear friend and 'big sister' all rolled into one, I would have probably said "nah, just babysitting for a few hours, that's all". But, as it is often said, everything happens for a reason. And I am so glad it does.
Happy Birthday, Mary! I love you!