Dearest Future Niece

Dearest Future Niece,

I can not wait for your arrival! For your soft baby hair and sweet baby smell. I was thinking about what I want to say to you. What I want you to know. For your brother, I wanted him to know his family. What it would mean to be a boy in a family full of girls. But for you, I have something different.


On tears.
You will shed them. The quantity of tears will vary significantly based on your personality, but no one escapes them completely. And if you are like me, you will shed them all the time. For a variety of reasons. My reasons: Some one has made my heart swell with pride, someone has crushed my heart with disappointment, surprises, happiness, contact lens irritation, sadness, fatigue, fear, anger, someone has just waxed my eyebrows, certain brands of eye makeup, cutting an onion, excessive laughter, gratitude, guilt, really bad days, having lash extensions applied (just to name a few). I have come to accept that I have very sensitive tear ducts.  They are just tears. Shed them, wipe your face, apologize to anyone you may have made uncomfortable with your emotional display, and move on. Although, I do think that whenever possible tears at work should be limited to a private moment in the bathroom. Let's be professional. Also, try not to emotionally blackmail people with your tears. That manipulation gets really old, really fast. And it is like the boy who cried wolf (I will tell you that story sometime), it will render your tears void and meaningless to the people you will sometimes really need hugs from amidst your tears.


On matters of the heart.
Over the course of your life, you will be inundated with the phrase "follow your heart." It's Disney Princess mantra numero uno.  I would like to present you with an alternative strategy: Fact check your heart. I can not even tell you how much grief this would save so many people (myself included). The heart is treacherous and irrational. The heart wants what it wants, but sometimes what the heart wants is just plain stupid. Quite frankly, I think that infamous heart followers who are supposed to sweep us away with their romantic endeavors are more than occasionally foolish.  Pocahontas kind of took a wrong turn with that whole John Smith thing. Also Romeo and Juliet. You will never convince me that those two were anything but overwrought teens who needed to take a step back and rationally evaluate the situation. Heartbreak? Not getting what you want? I promise you can get over that. Poisoning yourself or catching a deadly disease because you moved to England when you should have stayed with your tribe back in the New World? Significantly LESS EASY to get over.  Don't completely ignore your heart. Just make sure you always couple your heart's desire with much thought and prayer about what is best for everyone involved in the long run.  So much easier said than done, but do try.


On dress and grooming.
Not that I am an expert but... here is what I do know. Buy clothes for whatever size your are right now. And, as hard on the wallet as it is, when your size changes, buy clothes for that size. I have repeatedly made the mistake of not moving up and down sizes when I should have with unflattering results. I recently discovered that I have been wearing clothes that are a solid 3 sizes too big for me. Beyond the ego boost of discovering I can fit into a size 6, there is also the sweet goodness of looking in the mirror and seeing my body for what it really is and then working it to its full potential.  If you find a good hairstylist who gets you, hold on to him or her. When it comes to beauty products, you generally get exactly what you pay for so just suck it up and spend a little more for better results. On the other hand, less is more. Unless the less you are referring to is "less covered body parts" in which case I say, COVER UP! Please. Stop shaming your family, respect yourself, and cover up already. Although, I am not too worried about this one because I know your father. You will be covered. Don't be afraid to try new things in hair, makeup, and fashion, but do be prepared for the pictures of you to be embarrassing years later. It happens to the best of us.  Who possibly could have predicted that purple parachute pants would turn out to be a bad move? Or all those years of your mother's hair? (See me on this. I have photos.)


On sisters.
I don't know what it will be like for you to have an older sister who is so much older than you. I think it will be really, really, really fun when she turns 30 and you are what? 13? Mock her. Mock her relentlessly. Why? Because you can. And because you will be 13. One of the few ages where it is expected of you to be completely obnoxious. Maybe having a sister that much older than you will be like having an extra aunt. That could be good. Aunts are awesome! I would know, I am one. And I have them. They are awesome. On the other hand, she might turn out to be like a second mom. Your mom was kind of my second mom. What I can tell you about that is: it will be rough in the beginning, but it gets sweeter as time goes on.



On brothers. 
Anyone? Anyone? Seriously. If you have thoughts on having an older brother, leave them in the comments. That would be fun!

On everything else. 
Please do not ever go on a reality show (or watch them).
Patience is a virtue.
Life is a series of problem-solving opportunities.
If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.
Don't bite the hand that feeds you.
Laughter is the best medicine.

Love,
Aunt Megs