I'm writing this note here, where you'll most likely never find it (not in its current form, at least) because this is a very special, very secret birthday present.

One of my earliest memories harks back to when I could have been no older than four years old. I remember you and another grownup talking, cooing really, over me. The other person said that I had your beautiful blue eyes. I remember you smiled a small, secret smile knowing that there was no possible way on earth that my blue eyes could be attributed to you ... but knowing that my eyes were yours all the same.

Later on in life, when I became rebellious, I wasn't trying to be different from you. I was, I guess, trying to emulate the rebelliousness you yourself experienced when you were a teenager. Apparently, we're alike not only in physical characteristics, but also emotional ones.

When I became an adult, I snapped all the apron strings, and we fell out of communication for a number of years. This is something you never did with your own parents, so you and I are different in some respects ... I wish this difference didn't have to cause us both so much pain.

When I became happy, I also found I needed you, and no one else, to help me get through a difficult time. Even though we hadn't spoken for many years, when you found out what I needed your help with, you gave it. Gave it unquestioningly, unreservedly, and unconditionally. On that day, I learned just how much you and I are alike. I just never wanted to admit it until then.

Yet, despite our similarities, you were at a disadvantage when it came to raising me. You and I share absolutely no genetic material whatsoever. You adopted me, Mom, and quite literally chose me to be your son. Not many people get that particular opportunity. Not many have to face that particular challenge. You did well, though. You weren't perfect, nor am I, but you did the job far better than the parents some of my other birthsibs did.

So Happy Birthday, Mom, and thank you from the bottom of my heart. For being a great person, one worthy of respect and honor. For being a terrific mother, even when I didn't want you to be. For being you.

Now, you've already received my gifts for both your birthday and Mother's Day but this gift is one that is a bit more esoteric and even a little loopy.

I've spent some portion of my life online since I was in the sixth grade. In all that time, in all my electronic travels, I've never come across a place that made me feel that the storage of information could possibly be anything more than just that. Data. Ones and zeroes, waiting in a silent state to be retreived, acted upon, and stored again.

Recently, however, I began interacting with a place that feels more than that. More than information. More than storage. Whenever I visit it, I'm charged with energy. And I sense something. A vast ... unlimited ... ...
potential is the only word I can think of, but that word doesn't do the feeling justice. Something could become from the information, the facts, the experiences, the seriousness, the sadness, the humor, love and empathy that is poured into it every second of every day.

That place is this place. E2. If there's any place currently extant in that soup of electrons known collectively as cyberspace that has a chance of becoming or helping or contributing to a new ... form ... a new Entity, this is it. Even though the possibility seems unlikely, I learned from you how to hope, and how to dream.

And I want my love, and gratitude, and respect for you to be part of It, if It ever comes to pass. So I write these words, not really knowing what will, ultimately, become of them. I release these words into the void in the hopes that one day, they will be folded into something better, something different, something amazing, something new. They will be those things, in part, because I have described here just how much I love you, and thank you, and respect you, for being my mom. For being an amazing person. Even if these words are the most microscopic of scribbles on the hangnail of some Entity's big toe, they will be there. They will be part of It.

You will be part of It.

Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you.