For Emma

You’re a whole handful today, can you believe it? I called you last night to wish you an early happiest of birthdays because you were heading to your mom’s today and you made sure to remind me that yesterday wasn’t it. You’re birthday wasn’t until today. So literal, so honest. You get that from your grandma Julie and it’s just the tip of the iceberg of qualities that I’m so grateful you hold.

Emma bean, you constantly encourage me without even realizing it; to be the most true and authentic version of myself that there is. Because you are. You are unapologetically fearless in life and in essence. You both laugh and dance as if no one is watching. It doesn’t matter who’s around you, you are you. You’re not afraid to let people know when you’re hurting. You’re not cautious to let people see you giggle or act goofy! You inspire me every single day to live with a courageous and lionhearted spirit even though I’m not with you most of those days.

My wish for you is to never lose sight of that magic in your life; to never stop dreaming, never stop wishing, never stop living. I’m not sure you’ll ever truly grasp the magnitude of influence you have had in my life and in those you’ll impact as you age. But when I grow up, I really do want to be just like you and when you grow up I hope that you want to be just like me.

You’re my reason for allowing myself to find my worth in this world. You’re my reason for adventure. For running instead of walking. You’re my reason to trust and love and pray even when it feels too hard to do so. You’re my reason because I want you to know, without a doubt, your worth in this world is greater than you can imagine. I want my love for a life full of quality, strength, distinction, and sense of wanderlust to ripple tenfold from me to you.

I want to protect you from all the pain in this world but I know that’s not realistic and honestly I think people need to go through pain in order to truly empathize with others so I know it’s gonna happen. But I hope between all the hard stuff, you’ll feel the sprinkles of virtue and warmth. You’ll know that I’ll always pick you up when you fall and be the person you can run to when you feel like you have no one, because it will happen. I hate thinking about it, but you will have some really crappy days and I’ll be here to remind you that life doesn’t end when the crappy days begin. Every single day of your life, I hope that you continue to wake up and choose to be the good in the world.

I can’t imagine a day where I don’t encourage you to strive for the absolute maximum of what you deserve. I can’t imagine watching you come down on yourself so hard that you feel like you’re drowning. I can’t imagine you ever feeling unloved, unseen, or unheard in all the ways that I have. But I do I hope you’ll know how many life-preservers in the version of people disguised as angels you have to save you when you feel lost or broken.


Emma, today you turn five! You love unicorns and kitty cats and sprinkles and slime. When we take pictures together, your first instinct is to close one eye and stick out your tongue, like a real-life emoji. You get excited when things shimmer and your personality flourishes more and more each day. You like to write and to draw; you’re an artist by nature. You love to use your imagination and honestly, you’re probably smarter than I’ll ever be.

One of my very favorite moments of year four with you happened this past summer. We were at a park here in Fargo with your dad, Uncle Nick, and Auntie Katie. You were playing and you met this little girl named Remy. But you didn’t call her Remy. You kept shouting “friend! friend!” She kept reminding you that her name was Remy, as if you’d forgotten and I even recall saying “Emma, your new friend’s name is Remy.” And girl, what you said to me in return is something I’ll never forget. Your beautiful four-year-old soul of a girl turned around and said to me “I know her name is Remy but I’m calling her “friend” because I want her to be my friend. I want her to know that she is my friend.”


To close, my birthday wishes for you are for you to live a year filled with happy thoughts and sunshine. I hope you continue to be the reason people believe in kindness even when people show you how rare of a quality that is. I hope you never stop loving people even when they let you down. I wish for year five to be filled to the brim with unicorns and kitty cats, with 4-wheeler rides and grease-filled fingers after helping your dad and grandpa Kevin in the garage. I hope your days are jam-packed with jumping on the trampoline in the summertime and splashing in the puddles when it rains. I hope you continue to make your daddy smile everyday because not only did you change my life but you changed his. I hope you never lose sight of who you are. I hope to see all of the dreams that you don’t even know you have come to fruition, I hope to show you the world, and I hope to help you know how incredibly good God is.

Until I met you, I’d never experienced the ability to love someone so fiercely as I love you, Emma. You are my favorite blessing and my greatest gift in this world. I wish you the happiest of birthday’s on your actual birthday!

Love, Auntie Ori

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