Many, MANY, happy returns of the day.

What do you get for the woman who has everything?
And by everything I mean a favorite child.
And by a favorite child I mean me.

Dear Mom,

Happy birthday on this, the day of your birth.
Thanks for taking me to the hospital for those 3 times I had to get stitches. And thanks for taking Darius those 27 times he had to (maybe it wasn't 27, but it felt like it, right?). Thanks for putting up with all of us and our antics for, what is it now, 34 years?
34 years?!?! Have you seriously been a mom for 34 years?!?! Man, Jeff is getting old isn't he?
Thanks for bending over backwards and getting Holly that scooter for Christmas one year. Even though she sold it a week after Christmas.
Thanks for being more worried about your freshly mopped floor after Darius got shot in the head with an arrow, and the money that went into Angie's dental work after Jeff and Stuart pushed her over on that skateboard and jacked up her face (true story on both of those, but I know mom was really more concerned about her children's well being than dental work and clean floors. Or was she...).
And thanks for screaming like a lunatic at that guy who asked if everything was okay when clearly it wasn't since you were sitting in the middle of the road with my bloody head in your lap after I flew out of the car and busted my head open (I think that was trip #2 for stitches?).
Thanks for telling me repeatedly how beautiful and wonderful I am (although sometimes I still feel like the jury is out on both counts). I remember very distinctly, when I was about 20?, and feeling particularly BLEH with myself, that you told me that someday someone would look into my beautiful, blue eyes with so much love. You were right about everything else and you hit the nail on the head with that one too.
Thanks for teaching me my way around food. If anyone compliments me on my cooking and/or baking abilities, it's usually followed up by me saying "I learned it from my mom." I don't know anyone else who has people asking for their Christmas cinnamon rolls starting in the summer. Oh man, those cinnamon rolls. I'm really intimidated to try making them by myself. There's no WAY I could make them as good as you do. Kind of like how I feel about making kids that are as smart and as adorable as all of Angie's. I'm pretty sure mine will be circus freaks next to those cute geniuses.
Thanks for being Wonder Woman after Dad died. After I started falling in love with Mike, I asked myself on a daily basis "How the heck does mom do it without him?" and I still wonder that sometimes. But I really know how you do it, and that's because of your faith and strength. As I've faced hard things since moving away from home, and getting married, I remind myself of the example you set for me during that trial and I know I can pick myself up and keep going. It is no surprise to me that it was a great grandmother on your side of the family, who prayed and miraculously had food to feed her children when they crossed the plains. I'm pretty sure you could do that too.
And I still stand by my theory that you converse with angels on a daily basis. I'm mostly 95% sure.
Oh, oh, OH! Thank you for taking me in when Mike decided to go off and play army for a long time. It was greatly appreciated, and I am just delighted that you and Pete fell in love with each other. Oh he LOVES going to Nana Bug's house.
And thanks for squealing over Kate Middleton's awesomeness with me. Mike gets tired of it pretty quickly, so it's nice to have someone who understands.
Anyways, I guess I'll see you next weekend, although I wish I could celebrate your birthday with you today (and go eat at Don Juan's...).

I love you very very very very very VERY much!

-Sandi (aka the fourth, and favorite, one)

I love this picture of mom and me. It's like the jedi and the padawan...