Another year, another letter. Read the others here.
Well lulu, you’re seven — going on seventeen (and yes, your list of nicknames keeps growing).
You’re going to be taller than Aunt Maddie and Mimi before we know it. And then you’re coming for me.
Your ears are pierced. You’re in FIRST grade. Your baby tight curls are fading away and you want your hair straightened more and more, which pains me dearly.
You do this thing where you put one foot out, place your hand on your hip and tell me something like it’s the MOST obvious thing in the world. “Well, APPARENTLY Memae, that didn’t happen.” And each time you do, i want to laugh but i also want to grab you by the shoulders and say stop, you’re not supposed to be old enough for that sass, for words like “apparently.” And in that moment, I wish life was one of those sand time tracking things. You know, the ones where you flip over and when the sand goes to the bottom, time is out. I want to restart time and keep you little forever.
Sometimes you’ll tell me that your friends excluded you or someone was mean to you and I can see that childhood idealism being taken from you. I feel so protective of you. Especially this year, which was a terrifying, confusing, anxiety-ridden year for so many – let alone a six-year-old who just wants to believe in the good of things and people. I want to keep it all from you, Belle. I want to protect your innocence, so you never have to see the ugly underbelly of this world.
Sometimes I look down at you as you grab my hand and start telling me stories about school, the things you’ve learned and I’m in awe of you. I see your eyes light up when you correctly write a word all by yourself and you’re beaming with pride and I think – gosh you’re something fierce. You have a fire that i hope is never extinguished. And what’s so beautiful about it is you’re also so, so sensitive. You take on the emotions of those around you. You’re a worrier. Which isn’t bad – it runs in our family. It means you’re empathetic. I hope you can funnel those two things – your fire and your empathy – into helping people who might not have that same spark, who sometimes can’t find their voice. I hope you use your voice for good. But that, sweet girl, is entirely up to you. Remember that. You have power to affect things.
It’s been quite a year lily girl, so I had a hard time deciding what this year’s letter should about. I narrowed it to three themes – becoming a sister, lessons from a global pandemic, and things i want you to remember on your wedding day.
I’m going to be selfish and I’m going to pick the wedding day one. Although maybe part 2 will be the global pandemic one – I need to get that on paper before, hopefully, the world is right sided. Just always make sure you have spare toilet paper in your cabinet (I’ll explain later).
Because you see, I got married this year to who you know now as Uncle Lauck. Thinking about my wedding day brings tears to my eyes. Not sad tears. Just so many feelings come up at once there’s nowhere for them to go except out of my eyeballs. And I will tell you that i am not a crier but i cried more in the six months leading up to the wedding than i have since i was a baby. And I’m here to tell you that it is OK. It is ok to cry, and it doesn’t make you weak — just as much as it doesn’t make someone who doesn’t cry apathetic — all it means is that is how you process your feelings sometimes. Never apologize for it.
One day I will tell you the story of your Uncle Lauck and me but that could be a novel so for today, I’ll stick to a few – tips – for your wedding day.
But oh my gosh! YOU stole the show at the wedding ceremony. You were our flower girl of course. And you were supposed to walk down the aisle and then sit next to Mimi. But, of course, you weren’t going to be left out of the main event, so you insisted on standing right in front of your mom, my matron of honor, and right behind me. Arms crossed, you stood there stubbornly. And at one point, you hit yourself in the head with a basket. The photos are priceless.
Ok back to what i learned:
- Pick three things that are most important to you on your wedding day and prioritize them in terms of budget, time and effort. Whether it’s the band, your dress, the venue, the flowers — pick three things that will most bring your dream day to life for you. Mine were the dress and the photographer.
- Get a videographer, you won’t regret it. If you don’t want a video, simply watch ours and i bet it’ll change your mind.
- During the ceremony, take a moment to look around. Really soak it in. It’s magic.
- I highly recommend having someone close to you marry you. Your dad actually married Uncle Lauck and me and it was amazing! Honestly, the ceremony was so incredible – I can’t describe it. Having someone you know marry you makes it so personal.
- Accept that something will go wrong. You will get a table number wrong, you will be running behind, the vow books will have the wrong initials, the rings will be with your fiancé instead of with you when the photographer needs them. Give yourself some grace. Someone will come to the rescue and sort it, don’t fret. It’s’ your day, after all.
- People will have A LOT of opinions during the wedding planning process and on the day of — and as it turns out, afterwards. Good and bad. About what you did or didn’t do – a beautiful moment, and on the flipside – hiccup or mistake that was made. Just remember, as with all things in life, their reaction says a lot more about them then it does you.
- Hug your mom and dad a lot that day. They’re feeling oceans of emotions, let them ride their waves — their baby girl is getting married after all. It’s a big deal.
- Whether you want a small or big wedding is up to you but that day, all that really matters is that you’re surrounded by your tribe. The wedding planning process broke my heart at times, it was so hard to plan a wedding given the state of the world, i honestly wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But your tribe will show up, even when you don’t ask them to, and they’ll be ready to do anything they can for you – let them.
- You will discover who your tribe is through this process. I think this was emphasized for me given it was in a global pandemic. My friends that held my hand through it all – i am eternally grateful. Make sure they’re close on the wedding day. They’ll swoop in with the glass of champagne when family photos are never ending, they’ll put your veil on you, they’ll watch guard as you get your hair and make-up done to ensure you feel your most beautiful.
- Make a short speech at your wedding. They’re all there for you, thank them for that.
- When i was standing up at the alter looking at your Uncle, it was electrifying. The whole day was. It really felt like I was cinder Ella and i was in some magical trance. And that’s what being in love is. That’s the fairytale, sweet girl. Cherish it. Remember that moment. Let it make an indelible imprint on your heart.
- This one is important. Make sure there is pizza and champagne waiting for you back at your hotel. You can thank me later.
I think having gone through the crazy wedding planning process we had to make me even more grateful for everything that day. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so present. So happy. If I’ve ever felt so much love. I hope the same for you.
I hope I’m there. I hope you feel so loved and cherished and beautiful. Because you are. And if ever you forget, just come find me and I’ll remind you. You are irreplaceable and the world is a brighter place because you shine in it.
I love you something fierce Lily Girl.