Dear Baby Girl,
Hello from your favorite aunt, Leslie. I’m your favorite; you’ll soon figure it out. I am currently sitting in my car, writing you a note. “Why, Aunt Leslie, are you sitting in a car, writing me a letter?” you may ask.
Good question, kid. Good question.
Here’s the deal. Your mama and I are very close. Think – twin sisters born 23 months apart – type of close. Where she goes, I go; with the exception of today. I can’t be in the room with her as you are born. I want to be, but that’s where your mom and I are different. Actually, we’re very different. I would let the entire family, a few interns, the mayor, employees at my favorite department store and a passerby on the street into my delivery room, but your mama wants it to be private.
I get that.
And so I sit and I wait in my car, right outside of the building where you will be born. We aren’t sure if you’ll come today, but just in case you do, I’ll be ready. I could go in, but I don’t mind waiting to meet you. I know we’ll meet in good time.
Your mama and I may be different, but our bonds are very close. I think it’s because of where we grew up. Can I tell you a secret? I’m a little bit jealous of you. You have been given a privilege that will take some time to understand. You, sweet girl, get to grow up in the same home where your mom, and your papa, and your great grandpa and great-great grandpa grew. How cool is that? The very same dirt you’ll soon be walking on was walked upon by the very men and women who built this country.
It’s incredible soil. You’ll love it, I promise.
The room where you’ll lay your precious head, was also where you favorite aunt Leslie slept. I loved that room with the big closet and two windows. Some nights, when the air was still and the sky was clear, the moon would shine onto those gorgeous wood floors and dance from wall to wall. Some of my favorite memories were made in that very room. I’m certain you’ll discover its magic, too.
And when you’re a bit older, that big window on the east side will be the perfect spot for to spy on your big sister and big brother as they say goodnight to their dates. That’s a privilege that comes with being the youngest. I’ll tell you all about that as well.
I’m finishing this note, baby girl, in the comfort of my own home, many hours after I began. A phone call from your daddy interrupted our chat earlier today.
“She’s (your mama) going back home for now,” he said. “It’s not quite time.”
And so I turned on my car, backed away from the hospital where your mama was staying, and returned to my own home 50 miles down the interstate. Don’t worry about the drive, sweet girl. I’d drive anywhere for you. That’s what favorite aunts do.
And on that note, about the favorite aunt thing, I’m teasing a bit. Truthfully, you won’t be able to choose a favorite, because we all love you. Your aunts, your uncles, your grandparents and cousins and friends even neighbors and members of your small community. They’ll all care for you, and look after you and help raise you into a strong young woman. That’s how we were raised. It’s how you’ll be raised, too. There’s something about the land you’ll call home for the next 18 years of your life. No matter where your travels take you, you’ll never forget where you’re from or the people who stood by your side to help you grow.
Sweet girl, we love you already, more than words can say. Keep your faith strong, be kind and courageous, stand up for others, and believe in yourself. You are loved with an everlasting love. What a gift you are.
Welcome to the world.
Your favorite (shhh – we’ll keep it a secret) aunt Les.
(Note: I wrote this on Sunday – she’s here now! Welcome, Norah!)