1911278_10152270910583234_480429777_oIf you trace the lineage of how a family grows through the years it is never a straight line. It is a series of chance encounters, crazy decisions in the name of love, and big leaps of faith and commitment.

39 years ago today, Janet Paddock and Steve Cook brought into the world Stephanie. I imagine Janet, being a nurse and all too aware of everything going on in her body, still beingastonished at what she had created. I imagine Steve going down the halls of the hospital holding this new gift for the world in awe and wonder.

Shephie was born of love. Showered with love. Dusted with love. And she was going to be raised and spoiled with love. Stephie grew up carrying that love on the inside, and her heart on her sleeve.

By one of the wildest coincidences of my life, one night almost eleven years ago we met. I didn’t know I was looking for this kind of love, because I could never have imagined it. But when I saw it and felt it, there was no possibility of letting it go.

Every single day since I have learned about love, and so many other things from Stephie. I joke that she is always right, and I really believe that. She is the most understanding, the most inspired and really in a sea of craziness, an island of kind reason. Having our boys, she has showered that love on a whole new generation. If you could hear just the sound of her voice with them, you were understand everything I am talking about.

We are not together for this birthday. We are going to do our family’s great time honored tradition of time shifting and celebrate later this week in NY.

If any of you see Stephie today, please give her the biggest hug. If you are in a different town, please just write the date on anything and send it to her ( and since it is 2014, hashtag it: #03.01.14 ).

For inspiration, check out this video we did a couple of years ago in NY:http://langestudio.com/videos/030110

It feels alittle queer sending birthday wishes out in 2014. When we are together it is real hugs in real time.

And...if we are lucky….real love always.

Happy Birthday Stephie!!

Stephie is @stephanielange on Instagram and Stephanie Lange on Facebook.