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Dear Grace,

I just wanted to write you a note letting you know that I am so, so, so excited to be your aunt. I was excited when your brother Jack was born, and now I am even more excited for your birth, knowing how great it is to be an aunt and how wonderful it is to see your personalities develop.

I wanted to let you know, baby girl, before anyone tells you differently, that you deserve a place in this world. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. You deserve a place just as much as every other person in this world deserves a place. Don’t ever let anyone shrink you. Don’t ever feel like you need to make yourself small or not speak up or not assert your voice when you feel called. Speak your mind. Have opinions. Don’t shy away from them (and don’t feel afraid to change them when you feel it’s appropriate). Don’t be afraid to change, to explore, to discover new things. You’ll find that you are constantly evolving, but don’t worry. We all are. See the world, try new foods, meet new people, try new activities, explore new places. Don’t pin yourself down too soon. Find out who you are and what you love. Be independent. Be assertive. Be humble. Be grateful. Recognize your privilege.

I know you will do great things in your life and that I will have the privilege of watching you do them and cheering you on. If you ever feel like you need a pep talk, like school is rough or you just can’t get along with your parents (we all go through that stage to varying degrees) or whomever you were in a friendship/relationship with ended up not being who you thought they were or you wish the eternal winter of Minnesota would end, give me a call. Even if I’m not there physically, I’ll always be there to talk to you (and your brother and whomever else may come along). I know your other super cool aunt Suzanne will be there, too. And probably with baked goods.

I love you so much already, Grace. I am looking forward to watching you grow and watching you become the person you choose to be. And if that includes going to Swarthmore or becoming a teacher or running long distances, you’ll be following in good footsteps. All of my aunts did one of those things, too :)

I love  you so much, baby girl!

Happy first day in this world!

Sincerely,

Your Aunt Christina

P.S. Word of advice. I highly recommend learning how to play board games, particularly strategy games, as soon as possible. I know from personal experience that your dad loves getting beat, especially by a girl and especially by someone younger than he is. Beat your older brother while you’re at it as well :)

P.P.S. You’ll probably find out sooner rather than later that, at least on your dad’s side (and including your mom), you come from a family of nerds. You can handle this however you want. However, I recommend embracing it rather than trying to run away from it. I’m not saying you need to walk around wearing a turtleneck and overalls or a wool cape (though your Aunt Suzanne probably knows someone who can make one for you). But don’t shy away from joining math team or doing science olympiad. Watch the Lord of the Rings movies. Talk about Star Trek with your grandpa. Play Scrabble with your grandma. Read The Giver and tell me what you think of it. It’ll make family gatherings a lot easier.

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