On this occasion of Rosalina's 21st birthday, it is the only thing that I can think about writing tonight. I think about meeting her as a small child in 1994. I remember going to her sister's baptism in Midland in 1996. One Christmas, she wore matching outfits with her sisters; gasp! I don't know how her mother convinced her to do that!
In 2003 she moved to Cleveland and that gave us the opportunity to develop a deeper relationship. I saw her through the trials and tribulations of the teen years. I even remember one New Year's Day visiting her in the hospital because her asthma could not be controlled. Through it all, I have always seen a beautiful, fun loving person who is willing to work hard for what she wants. We loved working with her when we did festivals, and we enjoyed travelling with her when we could.
I have always tried to develop relationships with my nieces and nephews in order to bridge the generations, but also, because one day, I will not be here, and it is up to them to look after their cousins, my children. I try to share with them my knowledge, and what I think is best, but it is up to them to follow their own path. You will only learn by experience, and sometimes, you need to have the experience yourself rather than be told not to do it. You remember the lessons better that way!
The lesson that I hope that you will always take with you is that regardless of the choices that you make, I love you with all my heart always and know that I believe in you and will always be here for you. Do not ever be afraid to come to me; I will help you if I can, but if I can't, I will listen nonetheless.