5309 reads
Posted by Tim on Oct 6, 2005
Happy 28th Birthday, Jessica!

Jessica's favorite color is green. This is because when she was a little girl all the other children liked blue and red, and she felt sorry for green.

I often tell people that story when we meet them, or make her tell it. I know that sometimes she thinks I'm doing it to embarrass her, but she couldn't be more wrong. I love the story of how green became her favorite color because I think it says so, so much about her as a person. Even then, she was defined by her compassion.

This is a special girl.

When Jessica was in high school, she was a spectacular runner, and she had dreams of participating in the Olympics. Her coach had trained Olympic athletes in the past, and as she won race after race, it seemed as if her dream might come to pass. She was absolutely gutted when she developed asthma, all the more so when her coach reacted by being totally and completely unsupportive. Unable to battle both his passive-agressive hostility and the suffocating betrayal of her own lungs, she walked away. It had been her dream, but she had to walk away.

That's not the important part. The important part is what happened next.

Jessica turned her energies elsewhere: she joined the Special Olympics as a track and field coach. For the next three years, she spent every summer working with children between the ages of 7 and 18. The Special Olympics committee does not mince words when it talks about what coaches mean to the athletes they train. Coaches are role models and character builders, it says. Coaches give Special Olympics athletes the most immediate awareness of their own worth, ability, courage and capacity to grow and improve.

Working with the Special Olympics, Jessica came to realize that what she most wanted out of life was to help other people.

She volunteered at a crisis hotline, counseling people at the end of their rope. She oversaw after-school classes in West Philadelphia that taught entrepreneurial skills and computer literacy to the people that needed them the most. She worked for over three years at the American Red Cross.

On November 7, 2002, I met the most compassionate, loving, selfless girl I have ever known. She taught me how to dream again.

Jessica, I love you. I love that you will always buy the stuffed animal that has fallen on the floor and been stepped on. I love that you make me pull over when you see a stray dog, so that we can make sure he's ok. I love that you are capable of worrying that you're mean and selfish one second, and then literally moments later talk about working for the Special Olympics again when we get home. I love that you want to change the world, and that you believe you can, that you know you can.

Twenty-eight years ago today, an angel came into our world.

Happy birthday, my love.

If you enjoyed this story, you might also like these ones:

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Welcome to England!

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From Buenos Aires to Leeds

48 hours in St. Albans

48 hours in St. Albans

Tarpo
October 6, 2005 at 7:25am
Happy Birthday Kiddo.. Hope its a good one.. But then.. How can it not be? You get to be you for ANOTHER year.. Nothing wrong with that
October 6, 2005 at 7:53am
HAPPY BIRTHDAY sweetie…hope you guys do something special today. Jeff and the woofs send their love and kisses also. We luv ya darlin'!
other jess
October 6, 2005 at 7:54am
happy birthday, wonderful.
-j
Tracy
October 6, 2005 at 8:07am
Happy Birthday Jess! I already know it's a special one because you're living your dream with the love of your live.:)
MoonUnit_Polka
October 6, 2005 at 9:17am
Aww…I'm a sucker for the underdog myself. Your green story? Gives me the warm and fuzzies. :)

Happy Birthday, Jessica!
** hugs **

Shana
October 6, 2005 at 9:43am
happiest of birthdays, jess :) *love and hugs*
Noah
October 6, 2005 at 9:53am
Happy birthday, Jessica! That was a lovely tribute, Tim, in no small part because it was so well-deserved. She's a special young lady.
Noah
October 6, 2005 at 9:53am
Oh, and green is my favorite color, too, but for selfish reasons. I love it, and always have! :)
Paddy
October 6, 2005 at 11:01am
I'm always proud of my son's writing. I'm especially proud of this post, not just because of the quality of the writing, but because of the quality of the subject, his Beloved. Happy Birthday to his Beloved, Herself.
Tracy
October 6, 2005 at 11:06am
Yeesh, that's what I get for doing a million things at once and not editing…I meant life not live.

Obsessive? Me?

Philosophical LesbianPoet
October 6, 2005 at 12:20pm
Happy Birthday Jessica! I must say that I was rather surprised when I found out that your favourite colour was green, for as you know it's Ally's favourite colour too. (*Ally yells in the background* "Green? I love Green…";)

I was also surprised to hear that you used to work as a coach for the Special Olympics especially since I used to be a participant when I was very young. I have no clue where my medals are, but I'm sure I could find them for you when you get back.

Tim is absolutely right when he says:
"Coaches are role models and character builders… Coaches give Special Olympics athletes the most immediate awareness of their own worth, ability, courage and capacity to grow and improve." Truth be told, I don't think I'd be here today if it weren't for those coaches telling me that I could indeed achieve the impossible.

With that said, I must say that I may not have been lucky enough to have you as my coach when I was very young, but I'm extremely lucky now to have you as my sister not sister in law, but my sister for I know that if life ever tries to drag me down you'll be there (along with some other people) to pull me back up.

May you have the best 28th birthday a girl ever had and may you enjoy living the rest of your life with that crazy (yet wonderful) brother of mine.

With lots and lots and lots and lots and lots (times infinity to the tenth power) of love/hugs from me,

Magz 8 o )


Ally
October 6, 2005 at 12:23pm
Happy Birthday Jessica! I'm SO happy to hear that you like green, for it means that you are a lucky girl with great taste! May your birthday be an absolute blast and may you always remember to be nice to the cute stuffed alligators that come your way. ;o}

--– AWP

Mommy & Daddy
October 6, 2005 at 12:54pm
Happy Birthday to a very, very special little girl (and yes, you're still the baby so I can call you little). Daddy and I are so very proud of you (even when you drive us nuts!) and what you have done and what you will do. You have figured out that if the first approach to things doesn't work out, you can find another way (and usually a better way) to go forward. We love you and miss you a whole bunch! Have a wonderful time today!
China McHugh
October 6, 2005 at 12:59pm
Mommy, I miss you although this place isn't so bad as I can watch the birds and little critters, but Grandma and Grandpa don't let me climb the screens. I have someone to play with (if she's in a good mood, if not I just have to run fast cause she can't catch me). I have a bunny to play with to, although when he "binkys", he does scare me. I hardly ever use my box anymore. They spoil me, too, just like you do, but I still miss you! Have a Happy Birthday, Mommy. I'll eat a special treat and pretend it's birthday cake (I've just got to convince Grandma of the need to give it to me.)
Diana
October 6, 2005 at 1:08pm
Happy Birthday from yours humbly. Go green!
Carried away
October 6, 2005 at 2:19pm
I had forgotten about the 364 days of separation…
A very happy birthday Jessica!
(I'm a sucker for green myself.)
Sarah & Dave
October 6, 2005 at 3:47pm
Happy Birthday Jess! Hope you have a great day and have lots of tea and crumpets.
Beth
October 6, 2005 at 5:06pm
Jessica – I hope you have a very happy birthday. You deserve it. :)
Philsie
October 6, 2005 at 6:03pm
China Mchugh ! China Sheehan. Well I didn't forget, Happy Birthday its Nota, its Nota a bad place to spend a birthday and maybe not even that bad with Timmy "oh Yeah" ( said in a Fluff voice) Oh by the way you are Missing Lost and its O for Awesome…have a drink for Philsie
Juno
October 6, 2005 at 9:41pm
Happy Birthday, Shiny! I send hugs, kisses and much deserved love. I sure do miss your updates girl!
Greg
October 6, 2005 at 10:08pm
Happy Birthday Jessica!
Big Rob
October 6, 2005 at 10:20pm
Happy Birthday, sweetie! *big bear hug*
heather
October 7, 2005 at 6:58am
What a fabulous post for such a fabulous girl! Happy Birthday Jessica! Hope you can find some cake wherever you are!
Janet
October 7, 2005 at 7:51am
Feliz! on your special day. Don't know for whom it is more special; me for having befriended you at work (and not having been introduced to Tim…hrumph), Tim for having befriended you {and not been introduced to me:)}, or your wonderful parents through whom all this has been made possible. Hugs and Kisses to all.
Koreen (Amie's sister)
October 7, 2005 at 4:56pm
Happy birthday Jessica! I would wish you all the good things the world can offer, but you are already getting them each day!

Koreen

missy&derick
October 8, 2005 at 2:12am
Happy Birthday Jessica! (i feel the same way about the color brown.)
My Car'sInATree
October 11, 2005 at 12:31am
Happy Birthday Jessica! Always remember NOT to speed in the rain, for having your car rocket launch into the woods is not fun. *owie, owie, owie*
Peter
October 16, 2005 at 2:07pm
Belated happy birthday Jessica (or stast'nư narozeniny as they say around here) – I have not had the pleasure of meeting you but judging from Tim's comments it is a pleasure I look forward to!

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