Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A letter to my baby niece, Lauren

Cutest baby Lauren,

My name is Michelle and I'm your auntie. Some people call me el, ellie bellie or ellie bean; but most call me Ellie. Your dad is my little brother. When he was a little boy, he was adopted. I held him the day he was born. Because he (and you) are related to my step-father (your papa Charlie), he was in my life before he became my brother. A time came when your dad's mom couldn't take good care of him anymore, so Charlie and my mom made him my new little brother. I was already older. We may not be blood, but I will always try to be the best auntie I can.

I haven't actually met you yet, but you're going to be one year old soon and I wanted to write a letter to save for when you get older and hopefully become interested in reading this sort of thing. I had a non-traditional family life growing up and something tells me you will have a similar experience. No matter who comes in and out of your life, I do hope you'll always feel like I was there in some way. I have some advice which I hope you'll be able to use. You never know what happens in life and I want to be sure you know that I love you. I want to keep you safe and happy. My brother will take good care of you, I have no doubt. No matter what, you're always welcome with me. Where ever I am in the world, you can can too.

Remember that you are beautiful. The world will sometimes make you doubt that...well, it will most of the time unfortunately. But, you have the strength to fight it. You have Eastburn blood and I know the warrior in you. Stand up against the people who want to put you in a little box and make you think you have to fit. Love yourself; be proud of who you are and all the contributions you will make to this world that don't have anything to do with your physical attributions. And on that same note, don't let your physical attributions be the only contribution. Beauty fades, but you have a whole lifetime of being exactly the kind of person you choose to be.

Really take in the great things this world has to offer. It's easy to get caught up in reality TV and celebrity gossip. Try not to waste your time on this earth with empty facts. There's so much literature, poetry, photographs, stories, films, and places to visit. These things are what our society offers than can make you whole and intelligent and teach you lessons you can't learn anywhere else. Take advantage; old books smell wonderful.

Pay attention to the little things. Learning to appreciate simple reality will show you how to be a humble person. That beautiful flower, perfect cloudless sky, someone's interesting accent, the small watercolor at the coffee shop, and the graceful bend of your own wrist can be just as amazing as the biggest most impressive skyscraper. Technology, shiny electronics, and other possessions are not your only opportunity for entertainment and beauty. Try to really see the world and you will probably find new and extraordinary surprises.

Remember to have integrity. This is the one quality that is appreciated and respected by every person in your life. It is always better to be honest and keep your word. I think you'll find that keeping true to yourself and others will make you strong. Strength builds confidence. Confidence builds bravery. Bravery is what will get you everything you want in life. You never know if you don't try.

Test your limits. It is so much better to try and fail. Everyone says this, but it is so true. It took me a long time to learn to be brave, so I hope you figure it out right away. You'll be shocked how many friends you'll make, what you can learn and apprecaite, and all the new things you will understand about yourself just by trying.

Always remember that its not your start in life that defines who you are, its all the decisions you make for yourself along the way. If your childhood and adolescence are anything like I assume they will be, you must remember that there is a huge world beyond that place. You can get anything you want. And I will always be here to help you.

I may not be able to give hugs now and witness you growing, but in this first year of your life, I can try to pass on a little knowledge. I wish with all my heart that you are happy, that you will be happy, and that we get to share some happiness together.

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” 
― Maya Angelou

Auntie Ellie