Dear Ashleigh Lorene Sorrell Rose

I have this fiery little friend named Ashleigh. She's a red head. And I don't know if I loved her first because she was one of the few people I'm taller than, or if it's because I felt like I knew her before I knew her when Jake described his first BYOP pumpkin painting experience at her parents' home in the fall of 2003. But I do know that I've loved her for a long time.

Today is her 27th birthday. My first experience with an Ashleigh Birthday was when she turned 20. She sat at the head of the table and said "Thanks for coming to my birthday soiree." I'd never heard anyone use soiree for real before. I was happy to be there, and every year on her birthday, I think she's a big deal. So, dear friend, here's to you:

I've enjoyed being with you for many a big event in your life: Getting an internship in D.C., and when you had to respectfully decline it for some important reasons. Listening to the stories of you with a gimpy Christina wandering around D.C. while she was super packing her pocket knife - ready to ward off anyone who looked at either one of you the wrong way. Your first grown up job at Project Transformation, your struggles elsewhere, and you finally landing at United Way...even if I sometimes miss the good ol' days in Financial Aid in our super sweet work study spot. You were a ridiculously fun co-worker. It floated my boat to long-distance house hunt with you. And it was a great honor to stand with you when you married Andrew.

I appreciate your passion for good food, your love of other cultures, your slippage back and forth between English and Spanish, how you make a joint effort with everyone and anything you come across, that you still have Rita, your desire and effort to make the world a better place in whatever way you can, that you bought sunny yellow sheets for Cora at your house, that you came to see us in Chicago and sent your husband up to help when we left, the way you seem to balance so many things effortlessly. This list could go on and on.

One of my favorite things about us is the way you were around so much when I was in the hospital in labor with Cora forever. I'll never be able to tell you how much it meant that you came to see me so often, parking fees, crazy wheelchair driving and all. And then there was the night during the week I was able to go home, and you took me to (dare I say it?) McDonald's! And we ate cheap hamburgers because I really wanted one. Maybe I ate two, I can't remember. Stupid irresistible chopped up pickles. But the moral of the story is you are always there.

Of all the things about you, there is one simple thing I appreciate the most: your friendship.

Much Love,


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