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I was ready to pop the question. A little luncheon had been planned in honor of this special occasion. The house was clean, the table set, and a few appropriate words had been rehearsed. I was a little nervous but I was ready.

But what I was about to propose wasn’t marriage. I had invited Alexandra, my fifteen year old niece, and her mom, to lunch where I was going to ask her to be the one and only bridesmaid in my upcoming wedding.

I think it is a magical factor of human nature that we are capable of knowing we will love someone or something before they actually become a tangible part of our lives. But it is an experience most of us have had. I knew that I would love Alex even before she was born. I was enchanted holding her for the first time.

Even though I knew that I would love her, I could not possibly have known all the wonderful memories that we would build together. I could not have possibly imagined all of the joy that she would bring to my life. I could not have envisioned all of the giggles and the hugs that we would share over the next decade and a half.

So, I wanted this luncheon to be more than an opportunity to anticipate and prepare for my special day. I wanted it to be an opportunity to celebrate the unique bond that she and I had developed.

The luncheon table had been decorated in browns and pinks to match a bridesmaid tote that I had bought for her. Pictures, chosen from different stages of her life, served as our centerpiece. A banner, asking the big question, hung across the doorway. While she knew she was coming to lunch, I don’t think that she suspected my ulterior motive.

It was fun to see the surprise in her face.  

And even more fun to spend the next six months shopping and dreaming and building even more memories, together.

And when the big day finally arrived, that sweet, beautifully radiant child, who had been so close to my heart, for so many years, was there ready and willing to stand by my side. It was one of the happiest days of my life.

                   Happy 18th Birthday! (June 14, 2011)        I love you.

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