My Emry Kate,
It’s hard for me to believe that you are turning four. The once baby who so depended on her people has turned into a rather independent four year old who looks at this world as though it is her own personal challenge (ps, that’s one of my favorite qualities about you… don’t ever lose it).
I remember when I found out about you. How scared I was for your dad (and your mom). Who would you be? How would you change our family? Were we ready for you?
And just like that… you were here. I had no need to be scared for you dad… turns out, he’s a pro at this. As you learn and grow and morph into who you were made to be, I see how much you have changed our family, especially me.
Here are four things I have learned from being your aunt these past four years:
1. You can’t have too much of what you love
Whether it be all things purple, Minnie Mouse, or your KAYKAY you are a girl who knows what she wants. You have taught me that it’s okay to know what you want, and more importantly, to continue going after it. I hope you always see life that way. That you always have a passion that you don’t stop pursuing even long after it’s within your grasp. Never be afraid to show others who you are and what you love. I may never understand what you saw in Minnie, but I love her because of you.
2. Always chose to be brave
From the time you could walk you were constantly showing us how fearless you were. It runs in your veins. Your need to prove to the world that you are here to stay. It terrifies your dad, but I love it. Jumping off the diving board before your older cousin, holding a sparkler even though I could see it worried you, everything you do, you do with bravery. I can’t wait to watch you face this world one challenge at a time. For the record, the world will knock you down sometimes, it’s the way it works. But I have no doubt you’ll look that challenge right in the eye and get up for more. You’re a game changer Emry. Never doubt that.
3. It takes a village
You’ll hear that saying your whole life, but I never believed it to be true until you. Raising a kid, it takes a village…. and your village is top of the line sweet girl! Please don’t misunderstand me, your momma and your dad are fully capable of raising you. We (the village) just chose to tag along and love you all the way! We are your fan base, your cheerleaders. We are the cookie sneakers, the “don’t tell mom”ers. We will help guide you the best we can… with shoulders to cry one when necessary and a hand to hold when life seems a little tough. We are your village. You are one of the luckiest people I know to have a village so large and so unique. So many people love you, my Emry. I pray that you recognize what a gift your village is to you.
4. Love is a choice
I will never forget the first time I held you. In that hospital room, with you so small and different than anything I had ever imagined, I made a promise to you. I promised to love you, to protect you. I promised to be an actual aunt to you, a friend, a role model. I promised to be what I needed to be for you, always. I realized then that in order for me to love you, the easiest promise I ever made, I also had to love those that were a part of you. You see, your momma and I don’t always see eye-to-eye. In a lot of ways, we are alike. And in big ways, we differ. In that moment, I made a choice. If I was going to love you, I also had to love her. I chose to respect her and her role in your life, I chose to cherish her as a part of my family, and I chose to love her. My Emry, there will be people in your life that you aren’t going to want to love. Do it anyways. I promise you, making a choice to love someone will never be a mistake.
Happy birthday sweet Emry Kate. I hope you know how loved you are, always.