A Love-Letter to My Brand-New Niece
Baby girl, you are so new to the world that I don’t even know your name yet. Your time on this earth has barely spanned 1 day, and you are already more loved than you can possibly imagine. When you’re older, your auntie Anita will show you the videos she took in the waiting room as we sat anxiously awaiting your arrival, dying to see if you looked as much like your daddy as you seemed to in the 3D ultrasound. I must admit, I fell asleep waiting for you, but I learned something: you are not to be rushed, Baby. You take your time and I respect that about you.
Baby, you have very wise eyes. I noticed that as you were staring up at your mommy, just trying to figure out this brave new world. I’m confident in your understanding abilities, which is why I think you’ll understand what I mean when I say that your mom, my big sister Ariela, is her name. She is a lioness, and she is blessed by God with the biggest heart and with you. She has protected me, as her one and only baby sister, throughout the years. And if she loved me like that, Baby, then her love for you will be a wonder to behold.
I’ve told you a little about your mama: therefore, I should now talk about your daddy. He’s a wonderful soul, with all the love and playfulness you could ask for. He was always meant to be your daddy, Baby, and you were always meant to be his daughter. His uber-nerdiness has always jived with my own making him feel like a true brother from the beginning, and I can’t wait until his Harry Potter jokes start with relation to you: he’ll start saying that you must be the only good kind of Horcrux, because you have a part of his soul. You’re welcome, Ari.
Baby, I should prepare you in advance for the legion of aunts, uncles and cousins waiting to adore you. You are the first grandchild, so none of your siblings or first cousins have been born yet; but all the rest of us have been chewing on our fingernails to meet you. At the head of the charge are your grandparents, who have been expecting you since before they knew when to expect you. Your grandma is so excited for her role in your life, and your grandpa, who was daddy to four daughters, couldn’t be more excited for another little girl to teach about soccer, cars and martial arts. After all, as he says, “We don’t raise wimpy women in our family.”
Oh, Baby, our family. We are very lucky to have them, you know that? You, me, your parents, your aunts and uncles, your grandparents and all those who came before and whose memories are blessings. That doesn’t mean that they don’t sometimes get on our nerves, and that sometimes we’ll get mad. But, and here’s the kicker, it’s our prerogative to get mad at those we love. If we feel safe getting mad at them, it’s a sign that we’re secure enough in their love to test it, because we know we’ll always have it.
Baby, this is the start of my wishes for you: I wish that you will always be able to own your feelings, because they are all valid. Even if they turn out to be different that what other people might feel, even if they are more extreme, less extreme, more varied, less varied, they are your feelings and they are part of you. Own them as yours, and correct, because no one who isn’t you can tell you what to think or feel.
I wish that you always feel loved, and I can tell you that this is definitely not as easy as it sounds, even with our loving family. There might be times when you will feel lonely, or sad, or angry; everyone has them, for they are part of the human condition. I’m here to tell you, my love, that those times are made significantly easier by the ability to love yourself. May you always have this ability, Baby. It’s not conceit, it’s not narcissism. It means that you understand that you are worthy of love in all its forms, of your many blessings, that your failures are not flaws in your character but lessons to teach you a better way for next time. And you should love all those parts of you, even the ones you might see as bumpy or wrinkly, because even the less “pretty” parts of you still make up your person, which is entirely beautiful.
I wish that you never let your fears stop you from doing what you want, loving who and what you want, going where you want and being who you are. Now, this is not a blanket wish for fearlessness, Baby, because there is a big difference between being fearless and being brave; and I always want you to be brave. If you’re fearless, you act without caution which is not smart, and you will probably get hurt. If you’re brave, it means that you’ve thought the risks through and decided that they are worth it. You might still get hurt, but at least you were thoughtful and smart.
And Baby, always experience new things. You have no idea how far ahead of the curve you already are in this respect. You went to Israel when you were in Mama’s belly, you went to music festivals when you first started being made and right before you were born. Lordy, I hope you have good taste in music, because all that osmosis must have been good for something. Though if your cry and your long fingers are anything to go by, I shouldn’t be too worried.
Baby, I hope you like to be around people, but I also hope you know what a blessing your own company can be. Never be afraid to be alone with yourself, because if you can show the same love to your own heart and mind that you would to a friend, or someone in the family, you’ll never be truly alone.
Be proud and humble, Little Lady. You should never think that you don’t need to learn something new, because there will always be something new to learn, or to learn something again that you forgot. Always remember that there are more things in Heaven and Earth, Baby, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Do you have a philosophy yet? I think you do.
Oh Baby, you’re in for such a wonderful life, and I can’t wait to see it unfold. There will always be those waiting to catch you, but don’t be afraid of the occasional free-fall. There’s nothing more exhilarating than that feeling of your breath catching in your chest, and it means that you trust in your ability to get back up, which is all the strength you really need.
I love you so much my little frijolita. You’re my little bean. Don’t ever forget it.
Your Auntie Amy