My darling Valé…when you get to be as old as your Mimmie, you might start to realize there are things you wish you’d said more intentionally to your own kids, as they were growing up, or, at the very least, you’ll wish you had said them better. I heard once that grandchildren can be a kind of “do-over.” I don’t agree with that entirely, for you are not mine to raise, day in and day out. However, because I am removed from the constancy of your daily care, I think those things that need saying can rise more easily, and with greater clarity, to the top of my heart. It’s my hope that this letter (and the ones to follow in years to come) will help make your life’s road a little easier to travel.
I spent yesterday thinking of you on your 7th birthday (SEVEN!) as I flew all those many miles home from Italy. It was weird not being there for your birthday party, and helping MeMe with all the arrangements. But I loved talking to you on the day of your party, and seeing all the fun pictures…and I was super glad that we had a special early birthday celebration, just you and me.
I love any time I get to spend with you, honey. The fact that you don’t live full-time with MeMe and Daddy, means that I don’t get to spend nearly as much time with you as I would like, but I’m very thankful for any time at all because you are such a special gift to me.
See that picture up there? That was the day we met. Actually, I met you one other time when you were just a baby, but neither of us knew, then, how our lives would intertwine. On this day, when you met your baby sister for the first time, I was there to meet the little three year old beauty who was an extra blessing showered on me. I really didn’t know what to expect that day, whether you’d warm up to me or even notice I was there with a new baby in the room. But, you and I? We went together like peanut butter and jelly. Out of our whole family, you might be the one who is most like me, and I was bowled over by the gift in that and the love that filled up my heart.
We’ve had a lot of fun together over these last four years, haven’t we? We’ve had long talks, and read a lot of books, picking out all the “good words,” the long and important sounding ones, learning what they mean. We’ve played games and watched movies together, and just enjoyed each others’ company. But out of all the fun we’ve had, my favorite part has been watching you love.
You love your sister, and have from the moment she was placed in your arms. She annoys the heck out of you, but most of the time you are very patient and tolerant of her. You balance her out with your even keel, and she adores her “Sissy” because of it. You love your brother, too; old enough, now, to be a real help with him, and it’s sweet to see some Mommy skills in the making. You love your families – both of them. I know it’s hard living between two households, and wanting to please everyone. This year, especially, you’re learning how to manage that, and I’m proud of how you’re learning that honesty is important, and that you’re allowed to love everyone in your life.
Speaking of this year, I can’t believe how much you’ve grown. You’re reading beautifully, now, and are doing so well in school. I remember when I was your age, I was so anxious to grow up. I looked at older kids and the super-cool teenagers and tried to be just like them. If I could wish anything for you, it would be that you not try so hard to do the same thing. If you try to be 16, you’ll miss out on 7 altogether, and I want you to experience everything that it has to offer. Trust me when I tell you that 16 will come soon enough, and each year that you grow into your age, you’ll be more and more prepared for those cool teenage years, and life will be so much easier. Plus, I think you’ll find that seven is a pretty cool age all on its own!
You are special treasure to me, my Valé girl…a gift from God, Himself, straight to your Mimmie’s heart. I hope you will know all of your days that I love you as big as the sky.
“Grandchildren are the crowning glory and ultimate delight of old age” Proverbs 17:6 VOICE
What a treasured letter for our treasured Vale! <3
my favorite part of our friendship is watching you love .. yep – this i know for sure!