Dear Petty Jane

Welcome to the world, sweet hunny girl! I’ve been scribbling in my notebook for a few days trying to string together the right collection of words to write for you to read one day but if I keep at it, I’ll never actually put them together here, where I want them to live so here we go!

On Thursday, October 14th at 11:21 in the morning, I became a girl auntie for the second time to YOU, sweet little Petty. Your dad called me bright and sunshiny early! Actually it was pre-sunshine, it’s fall now and it’s dark a lot longer. You were due a few days prior, unlike your cousin Emma who was a couple weeks early so I’d been waiting in wild anticipation for the call. I don’t even think I said “hi” to your dad when I answered the phone! But as soon as I could, I made my way to the hospital. I think I was there just before 5:30 in the morning, hours before we got to meet you!

And guess what? Your grandpa was in town too! You’ll find this out soon enough but he drives one of those big trucks that hauls really cool things all over the country and he just so happened to be in town on the day you decided to make your grand entrance into the world. How special is that? Sounds like a God thing to me. I’ll tell you all about Him too, God, and your grandpa, of course.

Before you were born, we took guesses at how much you’d weigh and wrote them on the board in your delivery room. Your mom and dad thought you were going to be a lil’ chunk coming in at 10 and 9 pounds, respectively. But Grandpa Kevin nailed it. He guessed 7 pounds, 9 ounces and girl, that’s exactly what you were!

It’s so hard to tell who you’re going to look like but we all think you might have your mom’s little dimpled chin and your dad’s button nose. You haven’t much opened your eyes much yet, just a little peek but I’d be willing to bet you’ll have his eyes too! And obviously, the lightness in your hair will eventually gain a reddish tint like your favorite auntie, I’m sure of it!

It was such an exciting moment in my life to be a part of your birth day. Watching your dad, one of my baby brothers, grow up and become a father himself.. it’s really been one of life’s greatest gifts to date. I felt very similar when your uncle Logan became a dad to Emma. I know how big and special their hearts are; how loving, kind, and compassionate they are and to see them both become fathers is something I can’t explain. Your dad already loves you so fiercely and I’m filled with an immeasurable amount of gratitude knowing that love as his sister and witnessing it first hand with you and with your mom. It’s far more rare than many of us realize.

Both of your parents are going to give you the world, it’s really going to be something incredible to watch. Your mom is already starting you young on the socks-before-anything-else trend, she’s weird like that. I have my bets that you’ll rebel and be a barefoot babe everywhere you go! But she’s going to teach you so many fun things and you’ll probably love kitty cats just as much as she does.

I think your mom and dad are going to be the cool parents that bring you to your first concert when you’re like 2 years old. I can see it now, you’re sitting on dads shoulders rocking out to something at the Aquarium, belting out every single word! I’m excited for you to see your dad’s record collection, too. I imagine he’ll look at you in awe and full of #girldad pride when you start digging through old vinyl’s at thrift stores the same way my heart glows every time I see a puppy dog.

I’m already daydreaming about all of the fun things I hope to show and teach you, Petty. I can’t wait to explore this really big and fascinating and sometimes a little bit scary world with you. I’m so excited to bring you and Emma on adventures and watch you learn from each other, to watch you grow, and to see who you both become.

Emma is your very first cousin on your dad’s side and your only girl cousin so far! She’s 5 and she’s excited about being 5. She was a little anxious about meeting you, I think she’s a bit worried that all the cuteness and attention is going to be hyper-focused on you, which, for a full-of-feelings little Pisces girl, she’s not completely wrong. Babies are a lot of work and do get a lot of attention but I’m going to do my very best to show both of you all the love so that neither ever feel left out.

I can’t forget to mention you met one of my very favorite people in this whole wide world, my mom. Your grandma. Grandma Julie is going to be your favorite person too, ask Emma. She’s going to teach you to be brave and help you tap into the creative little artist I know you’ll be. And she’ll forever remind you that you can do anything you want to do because you’re Petty Jane and for no reason other than that. As she so frequently reminds both Emma and myself, “can’t” isn’t an option. We can try and keep trying but there is nothing we can’t do.

Petty, I hope to protect you from all the tough stuff that happens in this world and I hope to be your person no matter the time of day or age you are. I pray every day that you and Emma will become best friends in a sister-type of way that I never knew growing up. I know life isn’t always going to be full of fluffy little Canadian kitty cats and Saturday morning singing in the kitchen but your were born into a family with so much unconditional love to give and while we can’t protect you from everything, we’ll always be there with a toolbox full of solutions to get you through every single moment of this life.

My dreams and wishes for you reach far beyond the clouds in the sky; they are bigger than those I have even for myself. But I’ll never pressure you with them, only help to inspire and encourage you anytime you dare to dream and aim to achieve. You’re so new to this world, pretty little Petty, and it has given me a moment to pause and reflect on all the moments of life I’ve lived since Em was born.

Without knowing it, she gave me a reason a long time ago to do better, because little eyes are always watching and little ears are always listening. I’ll tell you both about it someday. And while I haven’t quite figured it out yet, I know you’ve given me a sense of purpose too. You’re getting to meet a different Auntie Ori than Emma did a little over 5 years ago. One that is still learning to jump but isn’t afraid to fly.

I love you so much already, little hunny girl. Thank you for making me an auntie again!

James 1:17 | Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

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