A letter to my niece

As another candle is added to your birthday cake you stand at the border of life unsheltered by the walls of your Mom’s home. You may be filled with anxiety and excitement, as you should. Life beyond high school and home can be an overwhelming and amazing experience. Take it one step at a time and enjoy every moment as it will teach you far more than you have learned in school thus far. With that in mind though, do not take this last bit of school for granted. Buckle down and soak up all you can.

Throughout life I am sure you have heard phrases such as “when I was your age, trust me I know or learn from my mistakes.” It’s easy to dismiss these advisements as you know that you are your own person and you feel that you know how to make better decisions to keep you out of the situations you are warned against. Dare I say, trust me I know because I was there once? However, I will honestly tell you take heed to the knowledge and experience of your mom and grandparents. Although generation gaps separate their young adult years and yours, there is no greater value in this world then the experience they hold.

As you step out from under the umbrella of your family and start a life on your own it’s thrilling to take charge of yourself and your decisions. Even simple things can bring you joy like eating ice cream for dinner and watching a movie late at night when you should normally be sleeping. You may even giggle with excitement the first time you do something that in the past would have been “against the rules.” If you think about the small decision don’t forget to think of the other side. Too much sugar can crash your immune system, offers no nutrition to fuel your body and will make you fat. The lack of sleep will hinder your brain function and coping ability. I know this is a silly example but the basis of the concept is still valid. As parents and grandparents our job is to provide you with all the life lessons we stumbled through so that you don’t have to live through the same mistakes that we did. Take advantage of it!

Your mom has given you the greatest blessing you could ever have as you step over the threshold into adult life. That blessing is raising you in a home with belief and faith. I was raised with the same but early on allowed my life decisions to lose this. Clutch to your faith as if it contains all the gold held in Fort Knox and guard it with every fiber of your being.

Progressing through life without faith is lonely, cold, dark and downright terrifying. Please, I beg of you, hear this. It was not a conscious or deliberate decision to lead a life without faith but somewhere along the way it happened. It is not because of a lack of effort that I still have a daily battle with this and I never wish you to feel this way. Think of it as trying to hold sand in your hands versus having bucket to hold the sand for you. With sheer determination you can hold your hands tight and you may even feel accomplished for doing it on your own without any assistance. However, as time passes your hands grow tired and no matter how hard you try your fingers grow week and begin to loosen. A few grains of sand slip through. You look down and see that most of the sand still is safe in your hands so you accept a few lost grains as it is not much compared to what you still hold. More time passes and your fingers grow more tired and you rest a little more. A steady stream of sand now escapes between your fingers and before you realize it you are left with nothing in your hands. You now have a choice. Continue with nothing or try and recover each tiny grain of sand. Have you ever tried to pick up sand with your hands? It will be near impossible to find and collect all the grains again. You would spend a lifetime struggling to do so. Do not take the sands of life in your own hands. Instead, carry it in your bucket of faith. Revel in its support and comfort.

I love you so much Elle and I want you to have an amazing life. A life where you will enjoy the path you take and be proud of who you are. It is easy now to say “Of course I know who I am and I will not let anyone or anything change that!” But as you start a life of your own little things can make a big impact. Think things through fully and call your Mom or Grandparents if you are ever in doubt. I cannot wait to see what your life will bring and grow into. Keep hold of your bucket!


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