I’ve known Maya since my first session of Not Back to School Camp in 1999. It was her last year as a camper and I had the good fortune to be able to be heading in the same direction as her after camp. We drove to California together and exchanged life stories. She charmed me with her friendliness and her feistiness. When I asked her why she had purple hair, she said, “I like the way it makes people smile.”

My good fortune has continued. I am so grateful to have made a lifelong friend in Maya, that she married my brother Damian, that she has chosen to live near my family in Joshua Tree, that she created my first nephew, Oliver, and that she has made herself such a strong, kind, smart, beautiful woman.

Happy birthday, Maya! I love you.

Maya, with Ollie on his Birthday, 2012

Maya, Ollie, Damian, 2012