I remember the day as if it was yesterday. I’d come home from a basketball game at school and found my family in the living room. You’re going to be an aunt, my mom said. At 11, I didn’t fully understand the situation at hand. All I knew, was that in a few short months, there was going to be a real baby in my house and I could not wait. I remember Kendra was the first friend I called to tell the news.
Fast forward a few months, it’s 4:00 am and I wake to commotion in the house. It was time. My parents were helping my sister gather her things and rush out of the house. Amanda and I had to stay behind and wait to hear the news.
Bailey Madison Kernodle was born sometime between 90120 and Melrose Place on the 27th of April, 1994. A little baby, with a head full of black hair. So tiny, so beautiful.
Fast forward 18 years and here we are. That tiny little baby has turned into a gorgeous girl. A smart, funny, confident, strong, did I say gorgeous girl? Yep, that’s my niece. Or rather sister. She’s more my sister.
You know I love my life in South Africa, but it’s days like these that it sucks. That I absolutely hate living here. I just want to be home, near my family. Near Bailey. I feel like I’ve missed so much these last few years. I wasn’t there when she won the State Championship with her school volleyball team. I wasn’t there for her first prom or when she made Homecoming court. To help judge her first boyfriend. Or when she received a full scholarship to the Citadel. I won’t be there this morning, on her 18th birthday. I’ll miss prom again. And I won’t be at graduation. Or when she leaves for college.
She hasn’t met Ava…
It hurts so bad. How do you make someone know you want to be there? That if you could, you really would? How do you explain to an 18 year old that she means the world to you? That she’s one of your favorite people, but yet you choose to live so far away? Why? Why does this life have to be filled with so many tough decisions? Why can’t it be easy? Why can’t Johan and I be from the same place, so no one has to miss their family? Why couldn’t we be normal?
Wow! Now that I got all of that out of my system….
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BAILEY!!
I know this will be your best year yet! I can’t wait for your visit in June and our visit in December. I am so proud of the person you’ve become.
If I was there today, you would wake up to a room full of balloons. I would have decorated your car, just like you and Laura Boger did for me on my 18th birthday. We would go to Nakatos and stuff our faces with sushi and then try to find some room for the rest of the goodness. I’d take you and your friends to Kate’s Skating Rink because roller skating is awesome. Then we’d find a Ben & Jerry’s and stuff our faces with ice cream. Your friends could come back to my house and we could watch chick flicks and stay up all night. Yes, if I lived there, that’s what we’d be doing tonight.
But I am sure you have something great planned and I expect pictures! Lots and lots of pictures.
I love you Miss Bay and can’t wait to see you very soon! XO