They say it takes a village to raise a family. During the last few years, I have learned how very true that sentiment is. I am fortunate enough to have a large extended family; my girls have an abundance of cousins, two sets of grandparents, and numerous aunts and uncles. Each and everyone of these family members has helped me on countless occasions. One such family member is my best friend, Jen, also known as Aunt Jen to my children. They love Aunt Jen as much as I do and we all consider her a part of our extended family. My children don't love her just because she bakes the most delicious baked goods on earth, they love her because they sense how good of a soul she is, how much she loves them, and how much she loves their mommy. She has an amazing ability to relate to children, connect with them and make them laugh. In fact, I have never met a child who does not like Aunt Jen. Scianna actually squeals in crazed glee when she finds out Aunt Jen is coming to visit her, which is a reaction reserved only for those she holds in highest esteem. Aunt Jen has helped me a million and one times over the last four years with my children.....not just by watching them when I am in a bind, but by being a loyal friend, listening to me complain, hearing my sometimes unfounded concerns, and, most importantly, by giving me the gift of laughter at times when I felt like I was about to lose my sanity. Our friendship now spans the course of two decades and it has evolved and grown in many ways throughout the years, but one thing has not changed and that is how much I love my bestie and how very lucky I feel to have her in my life; she is the epitome of a true friend. I don't think we have ever gone a full day without being in touch with each other, even if it is just through a text to randomly profess our undying love of Prosecco, our annoyance at someone or something, or just about something silly that makes me LOL in response. I can't imagine life without her.
So, today I am wishing my favorite girl the happiest of birthdays and wishing her a year that is filled with happiness, health, and laughter because there is no one on earth who deserves those things more. Tonight we will celebrate her birthday and all of the ways that she is a vital part of our lives. Now, there may or may not be Prosecco involved in the festivities, but one thing is certain, there will be tons of laughter and love. Happiest of birthdays to you Jenkee! We love you!