To Lela on her 2nd birthday….

Dear Lela,

Today, determined and amazing, creative and resourceful, delightful niece, you turn two and I can’t believe that is is so.  Unlike when your older sister was born, I was not just around the corner in ultimate attentiveness. I was still eagerly anticipating your arrival but I was and am thousands of miles away. I rejoiced when you were born but also held a deep sadness about being so far away.  I couldn’t whisper in your ear when you were new but I could send you all the love and courage to be in the world with the promises that we can live our lives more fully with each other.

Part of why I moved away for now was so that you could see what it is like for each person to listen to their hearts and make decisions based on how the world calls them. I wanted  you to have postcards from all over the world so that when you are a teenager we can talk about traveling together and exploring new places.  I know that you won’t remember fully these moments but I hope we will continue to tell stories of right now and the world around us.

The world you entered and are turning two in is a very different world than what I have ever known before.  You will continue to grow in a world in which you never know it without the pandemic and these current protests.  You are growing into a world where you “get” to wear a mask and a distanced birthday party isn’t weird.  You are growing in a world in which seeing me every week on facetime is part of the norm but it also keeps us quite connected.  Imagine if we didn’t have that to allow me to hear you tell me about your cupcakes through your pacifier and to see you smile that huge smile while you tell me about Minnie and Frozen and the new world around you.

I can already tell that you are a force in the world and you need less words to get your point across.  They are well timed and with all sorts of emotion to back them. I can tell that you make your way in a different way than your sister and that you will make yourself known in new ways too.  I can tell that you are connected to your sister and yet you are your own person too.  Your eyes are full of dancing and you say what you need to when it counts.  At two we already are getting a glimpse into that fully personality that I can’t wait to be a part of!

This world that you are turning 2 into can be a little daunting I must admit but I hope you remember a few things as you grow into it….

-You are surrounded by a stellar community who loves you dearly.  You are also surrounded by an amazing cloud of witnesses on all sides.

-The world still holds so much beauty even in the midst of great loss.

-This world is ready for you to make a creative and significant mark when it is your time.

– This world is small and yet expansive for we are all connected and certainly the pandemic only highlights how.

Lela Ray, you are loved. Happy Birthday!


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