Things I Want My Daughter to Know

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It’s Okay to Have Your Own Opinions December 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — rlginny @ 5:17 am

Dear Baby Girl,

I want you to know that it’s okay to have your own opinions and, more specifically, for those opinions to not necessarily agree with that of the people around you.

A very smart person your Grandaddy and I both admire once said that if two people agree on everything, one of them isn’t necessary. Everyone views things, information and situations through “glasses” which are colored by their own experiences. Meaning, that everyone in the world can see the exact same thing and each person will have a different take on exactly what happened, what it means and how it affects them, the world, or anything else. No two people will ever see anything exactly the same.

Don’t be afraid to believe in something, even if what you believe is simply that there isn’t anything out there to be believed in.

Never be ashamed of your beliefs. That’s the wonderful thing about opinions. Two people can have completely different ideas and opinions about things and, amazingly, neither person will be “wrong”.

It’s okay, and sometimes good, to be different. Don’t ever let anyone tell you your opinion is wrong. That is why they are opinions, not facts. But, on the same vein, let other people have their opinions. Just because they don’t think like you doesn’t make them “wrong” either.

Stick to your opinions and beliefs. Stand by them. Stand strong.

If there’s one thing your Grandaddy ever taught me, it’s that.

Love,
Mommy

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Pictures (and Cameras) Are Not Evil December 28, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — rlginny @ 7:47 am

Dear Baby Girl,

I want you to know that pictures are not evil things and are not things to be shyed away from.

Yes, I know that pictures can be annoying. And yes, I know that you are human, and a female, and, therefore, there will be times and moments in your life when you won’t like the way you look. That’s actually rather normal, Baby Girl, and not something to be afraid or ashamed of. But trust me, you are and will always be beautiful and, years from now, when a person has passed away or moved to another country, or when you try in vain to remember what a face looked like from a long over friendship, you will be very extremely grateful to have pictures.

I used to avoid cameras at all costs. As a result, there are not many pictures of me for a few years and, as a rule, very few pictures of me and your Grandaddy (both because I avoided them and because he was usually the one taking them). After Grandaddy passed away, I realized how few pictures I had of the precious memories I had of him and I would give anything to be able to go back and capture those moments for a lifetime.

There are no pictures of me and your cousin Brett after we were about six. Again, when he was gone, all I could think was the could-have and should-have taken pictures over the years, the ones where both he and I ran away from the camera or covered out faces to the point where out parents stopped because we “didn’t do pictures”. But I wish we had, because there are moments I have trouble pulling his face from my memories, and more trouble seeing the two of us actually together in the same place.

This makes me sad.

For the first bit of your life, there were very few pictures of you and me. I was always the one behind the camera because I hated pictures. Then PawPaw got a bit upset, called your Daddy, and told him he better take a picture of baby and Mommy, or PawPaw was going to get extremely upset (namely cause MawMaw would get upset with him). Now, there are pictures. I might not always look perfect, my hair might be mussed, my clothes askew or I might have dark circles under my eyes, but I’m there, in the picture, with you, and that’s really all that matters. Because it means that at some point down the road, when you need it, you will have tangible proof that your Mommy loves you.

Cameras and pictures, no matter what anyone says (including me) or what anyone does, are not evil incarnate and actually are wonderful for holding onto memories in a more lasting and special way.

Love,
Mommy

 

You are well loved and have an amazingly wonderful family December 27, 2010

Dear Baby Girl,

I want you to know that you are well loved and that you have an amazingly wonderful family.

You will never remember the week after Little Brother was born. You will never remember the move from Key West or the one from Daytona. You will never remember your first Thanksgiving, your first Christmas or your first birthday. You will never remember the day you and Little Brother were baptized. Most people don’t.

But I really wish you would. They are all proof that you have one of the most amazing extended families any girl could possibly wish for.

Your Grandaddy used to tell me all the time that everyone in this world has two families. We have the family we are born into, a family we have no say in or control over, a family who (is supposed to) love us no matter what and whom (usually) we love unconditionally in return, even if we don’t always like them all that much. Then there’s the family we choose.

This chosen family is not just your husband, wife, significant other or whoever you decide to spend your life with. This family is also your surrogate aunts and uncles, your godparents, your friends, the people that know the real you, inside and out, see you at your worst, and still love you all the more for it. You will choose most of these people. Some of these people will choose you.

The day you were baptized did not go as planned. We scheduled it carefully because I really wanted your Daddy to be able to come and, at that point, we thought he was going to be in town for Christmas. That Sunday, being the day after Christmas, was when we scheduled it, so that he would still be here. Not a normal day for a baptism, but that’s okay. I have never once claimed to be normal, nor do I claim you and Little Brother are such a thing (and that’s okay, sweetie).

Even before that week we realized that it was simply not going to work logistically for your Daddy to come for the baptism, but it was decided to go ahead anyway. Maw-Maw was going to try to come from North Carolina. Most of Nana’s family was going to be in Athens for Christmas, so they would come visit. Your Roy and Sherri were planning to come and so would Grandma. Your Gigi and Dandy had scheduled to be away from their churches so they would be there, and were even going to help. Dr. Hinman, the associate at the church and a friend of your Gigi and Dandy, was going to be the one actually performing the baptism, which was actually a rather big deal for us.

And then Nature decided to have other plans. Decatur had a white Christmas, a real white Christmas, with accumulating snow and everything, for the first time in one hundred and twenty eight years. (P.S. You liked the white Christmas too, another thing I am sad you will not remember. But oh goodness did you love that snow that year.) The day of your baptism was the day after Christmas and, the roads being wet and the weather being awfully cold, as it were, we went to bed Christmas night not knowing what the morning would bring, be it ice, snow, closed churches, a baptism, family or anything.

Well, the roads close to us didn’t ice too bad, but North Carolina was snowed it, Athens was beyond icy roads that simply weren’t safely travelable. Church was not canceled; Gigi and Dandy felt comfortable driving in from the Farm. So Nana and I made the decision to go one with your baptism as planned, knowing that whoever was there would be there and it would be fine. What mattered was that Gigi and Dandy could be here, and the promise I was making, and the church was making, to you and God. The rest was just icing on the cake. So we went to church, expecting a small gathering and not many people in our pew.

Then your Aunt Sue called just before we left, asking if we were still on. She would come if we were. Your Grandma and Gigi and Dandy met us at the church. Your Grandma Susie showed up a bit later; your Aunt Sherry and Whit put off leaving to visit their grandchildren in Florida so they could come. Your Allen appeared (as I say out of nowhere), braving the weather and missing church at her own church just to see you. Your Aunt Daire left Miss Marion with a friend just so she could come see you. Miss Harriet and her husband were in church and so were Mr. Hudson, Miss Linda, Mr. John and, of course, Dr. Hinman.

And we thought our family wouldn’t be there.

After church, we had planned to feed friends and family. We had food for forty and about twelve coming, so we invited everyone. And many people came. We talked and we laughed and you played and we ate. You ran in circles around the couches in the Club Room. You were so excited you didn’t know what to do with yourself.

You were baptized. And while all your blood family might not have been there, you were surrounded by family that loves you so very much they would move their schedules, change their plans, brave snowy, icy roads and crazy drivers, and go out of their way to be with you on a day that is important in your life, even if the “event” only lasts a few minutes.

You are amazingly loved, no matter what you might think and no matter what, you will never ever ever be alone. We will always be here for you and will always love you.

Please don’t ever forget that.

Love,

Mommy