Happy Birthday. It's been 10 years since your last birthday. I have to say, I miss you. Everyone you ever knew misses you. You were a great person and a great friend. Today, however, is a day to celebrate your life that was, not mourn the life that never will be. You were an inspiration and a source of strength for a lot of people. I'm not sure if you knew that or not. You were one of those rare people that made everyone around them better. Maybe I'm romanticizing your life a little bit. We have a tendency to do that. At the time, it felt like kids being kids. Looking back, though it's easy to see the joy you brought to our group.
Everyone we picked up to our circle over the years had their place. I'm not sure how other people feel but that group of friends was probably the greatest group of friends I ever had. I don't know that I ever told you this but when our little group first formed, it felt like we were our own little ninja turtles group. Russell was the leader, Matt was the short tempered one, I was the nerdy one, and you were the goofy fun one. I remember at first you were a bit of a tag-a-long, being 2 years younger than the rest of us. That didn't last long, though. You quickly became an essential part of our play group. All those adventures in the tree house, the camping trips, the sleep overs, the summers spent swimming, the bows and arrows, hide and seek, playing fox tail, rides around the block in the tractor, trips to six flags, trips to wet n' wild. The four of us had some great times.
The size of our group changed, Matt moved or spent time at his mom's. Frank coming over was always a special occasion. Craig was in our little group for a while, with his awesome trampoline. Then middle school hit and our group started to gain people left and right. I think Josh was the first one to really become a regular part of our adventures, then over time we added Bryan, Lana, Brandon, Ashley and Becky. Every single one of them brought their happiness and unique personalities to our group. The constant thing though was just having a great time. No matter what we had going on in our lives, when we came together things were good. Even when the problems with our lives were the people in our group, it seemed that those problems got thrown to the wind when we all came together.
You will always be missed and you will always leave a hole in my heart. The only reason, though, that you can possibly be as missed as much as you are, is because you brought so much to the table when you were here. I loved the times we had together and I will never forget how good they were.
Happy Birthday, my friend.