To Chelsea on Her 50th Birthday

Dear Future Chelsea,

Today you are double the age I am while writing this. Since you have only pictures to remind you of past birthdays, hopefully your photos with the combination of this letter will help you remember your 25th.

Twenty five. Hasn’t it gone so fast? Right now, I have celebrated five birthdays with this man.

He makes me laugh. He grabs my hand when we go shopping. He kisses my forehead with more sincerity than most people kiss lips. He listens to me bemoan all my troubles. And he accompanies me on outings that are not his version of fun.

I hope the two of you are still working hard to make each other happy and are as much in love now as you were at 25.

Do you still appreciate how much fun Mom is? Even up at the cabin, she still managed to make my birthday special. She hung up two birthday signs with ribbon, put a sparkler in my morning coffee, and made me a mimosa with mango orange juice.

Tell her how awesome she is.

Are you still best friends with your siblings? Do they still make you laugh, share inside jokes, and challenge you every step of the way?

Tell them how much you appreciated having them as friends.

Does Dad still inspire you every day? He always manages to find the most beautiful places to see. He also manages to find some semblance of solitude in a weekend of loud revelry with a large group of people. Do you remember how he apologized that we walked two miles in error looking for the trail head that had started back by the cars?

Tell him you won’t complain about one mistake he has made when he has helped show you the way for most of your life.


This baby girl that attended your cabin weekend is now 25. That is terrifying to type.

Do you have kids? Did they share Aurelia’s tendencies to yell like the Hulk, stick out her tongue, or attend a 3 1/2 mile hike in a carry-pack with no crying or complaint?

Tell her how much you loved watching her grow up.

This is me at 25. I dance to the beat of a drummer that only I can hear.

Do you still treat yourself as well at 50 as I did at 25? Do you still say yes to hikes and no to Taco Bell? Do you eat good food, laugh as often as possible, and try not to sweat the small stuff?

I don’t have a plan for you. I don’t know what your career will be, how much money will be in your bank account, how many kids you’ll have, or where you’ll be living. But I hope you still surround yourself with family and friends, keep striving for happiness in all aspects of your life, and above all, I hope you have a life where you wouldn’t dare wish for anything more.


Chelsea at 25




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