Chronicles of Kindness and Lip Gloss: A Letter To My New Niece

Sweet Baby Maggie

Dear Maggie, 

I’m so glad you’re finally here…welcome, you perfect little peanut! This world is quite a place, and you have two of the most phenomenal people to guide you through it. Yes, your mom and dad are pretty terrific, but I want you to know that I’m here too.

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Unfortunately, there is some stuff going on with my body that might make me a less fun auntie than I want to be for you sometimes. But I’ll make a deal with you. We will spend every possible second that we can together, making memories, laughing at your dad (I hope I get to be the one to tell you the story about how he set the kitchen counter on fire one Christmas), and sharing so much joy. I won’t let myself get distracted by trying to teach you everything I want you to know in the limited time we have, as long as you promise to read this letter every once in a while and keep my hopes for you close to your heart. Agreed? Good. Here they are in no particular order:

  1. Be kind. It’s free and it feels good. Sometimes, it’s easier not to be kind, but it’s always worth the effort.
  2. Saying “no” is not inherently unkind. When the thing you’re being asked to do isn’t good for you, it’s honest and strong to say so. 
  3. When you’re not sure about someone, err on the side of love and acceptance.
  4. Usually, people aren’t trying to offend you; even if what they’re saying isn’t cool. You can’t control what they say, but you can control how you react to it. Shake it off, laugh it off, or tell them (gently) to knock it off.
  5. Take constructive criticism graciously. You won't agree with all of it. But be reflective rather than defensive. Chances are, even in the worst criticism, there is a grain of wisdom that can make you a better person.
  6. Most situations are improved with a great shade of lip-gloss. But don’t start using it until Mommy and Daddy say you are old enough.
  7. Speak up for people whose voices aren’t loud enough to be heard on their own. Stand up for people whose legs aren’t strong enough to support them. (Some people will tell you that you are dumb because other kids your age are doing dumb things; they are mentally incapable of separating you from your peer group. It doesn’t matter what they say. They aren’t the ones who need you.)
  8. People on your phone are almost never more important than the people there in front of you. Phones are cool and fun, but you have to know when to leave it in your pocket and be present in the moment. That being said, you should always take calls from your Auntie! 
  9. Follow your passion.
  10. Be who you are. Extravagantly. You are fearfully and wonderfully made; I hope that you will feel that and live it out loud.
  11. Listen to your mom and dad. They are two of the best people I know and will always want the best for you, even when you can’t seem to agree on what that is.

I love you more than you will ever know,

Auntie Kerry

Maggie and her proud papa (my big brother, Tommy)

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