seventeen

My dearest, sweet Alyssa,

I’ve been watching you. I feel so fortunate that some of life’s circumstances resulted in your becoming a much greater presence in my (and Connor’s) life these past couple of years. I’ve watched you become a beautiful young woman as you (and your sister!) have helped me care for my little man. 

I think, usually, nieces are the ones who feel blessed by their aunts but in our case, I am the one who is blessed. You are constantly complimenting me and telling me I’m not crazy. You giggle … a lot … and in turn, I can’t help but smile. You’ve introduced me to some of your favorite shows and I admit … I’ve become a little addicted (although I swear that I don’t watch them when you’re not around. I can’t be that person).

The thing is … I kind of want to be like you when I grow up. You just are. You care very little about what anyone else thinks, but in a good way. You aren’t unkind to anyone. I would imagine that everyone in your world considers you a friend. Your mind is open, too, to the world around you but you also aren’t willing to compromise who you are. And you know who that is? You’re a God girl. Some of my favorite moments have been listening to you talk about your faith and your experiences with the youth group. It not only brings me back to some of my very favorite memories from high school, but it also just makes me incredibly proud of you and the choices you’ve made thus far … except a couple of those boys and you know I told you so.

Last year, I was fortunate enough to help you get dressed and primped for a couple of your dances, but Homecoming sticks out as the one that was most important to me. You let me futz with your hair and paint your face and I just couldn’t help but admire your natural, God-given beauty (and ridiculously young, soft skin). Thank you for letting me be there for that. Aside from you being taller than me (with your heels on!), I loved every second of it.

my nieces

my nieces

Happy 17th birthday, Alyssa. Your very presence is proof that God loves me.

Love,

Your aunt who is not old enough to have a 17-year-old niece

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