My Dear Sweet Alexis,
You probably forgot that we have your info for this account and can post on it. Today seemed an especially appropriate day to do so.
Happy seventeenth to our little Lexus, who is, to us, much more like a Bentley.
You're growing up, even physically to some degree, which many of us, least of all you, ever thought would come. Many exciting things will happen to you in the upcoming years. Most will be good, and maybe a few will not, but all will combine to take you on a fantastic roller coaster ride.
Keep in mind that the worst is very likely over. If you exercise normal caution, nothing as bad as the things that have already happened to you in the past is likely to happen again. It can't be all good (as much as I would love for it to be for you, it just can't; that's not how real life operates), but it can be mostly good, and you can take what you can learn from the times that aren't so great.
As you're growing physically and chronologically, the other university students will be more like you, and real friendships will come. Be patient.
In the meantime, you have Uncle Scott and me, who love you as parents do except that we're a hell of a lot more fun than parents.
I wish I could see you today, but we both have compromised immune systems and you're carrying around a virus from which I really need to stay away, so we'll have to settle for skyping. Uncle Scott will be there to wish you a happy birthday in person for both of us.
Have a happy seventeenth. A few years from now, you'll wonder into what black hole this birthday and the several that are soon to follow disappeared. As much as it feels like it now to you, you will not be young forever. Enjoy it while it lasts.
I love you so much.