God has blessed me with 13 beautiful nieces. All of whom are different and I LOVE that. I love that our God is so creative that within the same family (not mentioning throughout all peoples and nations) His creativity shines His love and beauty for mankind. This post is a letter to those 13 women and young-becoming-women whom I love with all my heart!
To My Nieces,
From the age of 9 I have had the incredible privilege of watching my sisters bellies grow with you inside. Feeling you kick and move before ever seeing your face. I was blessed to not only be aunt, but to also have the role of an older cousin/sister.
Val, I loved Thanksgiving and Christmas when I got to play with you - loved taking you to my college for a weekend. Loved you flying out to see John and I when we lived in KS. You gave me the opportunity to feel what it was like to be a big sister! Now, you are a beautiful wife and mother! It has been so fun to see your first year of motherhood (albeit through facebook) and see the way you love and care for your husband and son.
Emily, the one I am told is just like me. Watch out world! I have loved watching you grow from a beautiful infant into a beautiful woman. I loved that I was able to be at your wedding and watch you take the most important vows ever! Watching you take care of Eric PLUS continue with your schooling - you’re amazing! Also, your photography is incredible and I am ready for you to come to Honduras and take some Clow family photos!
Jennie, as well I loved watching you grow from infant to womanhood. You were John and I’s ‘chaperone’ while we were courting - playing the role that I had to play to your mom and dad when they were engaged :) You were a beautiful child - now you are a beautiful woman with a beautiful child! I am still sad I didn’t get a chance to have you do my hair. From what I see you are SO talented and good at your career. Maybe when we are in the states next you can give me a makeover!!!
Sarah, the joy that your laughter and joking brought warmed my soul every time I was around you - and STILL does. Press on in school - there are kids out there who need a cool fun teacher :) Maybe special ed like your fun cool aunt :) :) Then after school (or during breaks) you can come play the fun-cool-cousin here in Honduras. God has incredible plans for your future - great things He is going to accomplish through you in the lives of lots of kiddos. I love you - remember always that you are very beautiful and very precious in every way.
Jessica, the honor of being there the moment you made your arrival into this world is one I will never forget. Remembering how you loved your uncle John right from the start- YOU were the one who made him feel most welcomed into our family. You are so beautiful and so talented!!! I can’t wait to see the path God takes you down with your music! I love reading all your facebook status, giving honor and glory to God in all things! Enjoy your last year of high school. Continue being that beautiful bright light shining in a dark world.
Erin, you gave me my first experience of a week long babysitting adventure. You were not even a year old when I got to be ‘mommy’ for a week; rocking you and giving you a bottle and yes changing lots of diapers. Though I determined I did not ever want to be a single mother that week, I also knew that I desperately wanted to be a mommy one day. You were a beautiful child and now you are becoming a beautiful women! Just two more years and you’ll be done with school - all you girls are just growing up too fast!
Lindsey, I married when you were just a year old and began seeing and loving all of you girls as a mother loves, not just the love of a fun cool aunt (although I am holding that title and refusing to be thought of any differently!). I love your ‘hacking’ into facebook status - our ‘your my favorite’ jokes we play. Your quick dry sense of humor gets me every time. You are beautiful inside and out! So - what I want to know - is when are you going to come play futbol in Honduras and forget that wimpy soccer in the GA?
Alexis, you were just a tiny infant when John and I married. I got to see you grow your first year and watch all your milestones. After that life parted, sadly, and only until recently have we ‘known’ each other (I am so thankful for facebook!) You are a beautiful young lady and I wish that I could know you better. But always know this - I love you so much, as much as any of the others! Just because we haven’t had as much time together doesn’t change that you are my beautiful beautiful niece!
Julia, you were born after John and I moved away from GA. Then life parted for a long while for my family and yours. I wish your cousins knew you better - I wish I knew you better (but like I told your sister, I am so thankful for facebook!). You are a beautiful lady whom I know is probably growing too fast for her mama! I love you so so much and hope that one day we will get to know each other more - that you and Abi and Bekah will get to know each other!
Ashley, my niece because I married your uncle. I found out I was pregnant with the girls just before you were born. Our visits to TX and watching you three play together has always brought joy to my heart! Your life has seen a lot, more than any child should. I LOVE that you turn to God and find your comfort in Him. I love you as my own child. You know that your uncle and I are always here for you. I just wish I got to give you hugs more often than I do! You are blossoming into a beautiful young women - I can’t believe how ‘old’ you are looking. STOP GROWING :-)
Rachel, you are only 6 weeks older than my firstborn girls and I can’t help but feel sadness that the three of you haven’t been able to grow up together. I think you are a beautiful wonderful thoughtful kind young lady. I LOVE being your aunt! I love hearing and ‘watching’ you be such a help to your mama and your younger sisters. God has given you an incredible wonderful personality who thinks of others more than herself.
Megan, little ‘sarita’, you bring as much joy to my soul as Sarah. God giving me the opportunity to witness that joy all over again through you is awesome! I love that you call me on Skype. I love that you pursue getting to know your cousins from countries apart. :) I love that you act as if we have always lived ‘next door’ not countries apart. I love seeing your beautiful face every time we skype!!!
And last but not least - Little Kinsey girl. A second ‘little em’ (who everyone says is just like me). Who would have ever thought that God would think this world needed another one just like us! You make me laugh. I love our skype dates. I love that you know me as aunt even though we have never lived in the same country. My heart fell when I heard that you had fallen and cracked your skull - not being able to rush to the hospital to see you was so hard for me. But I prayed, I prayed hard. I just remembered a time when Granma and your mama had to rush me to the hospital because a chunk of concrete that fell on my head - I was about the same age as you :) Ok - there are just somethings where you DON’T need to be like me!
I think I will end this post with that. I had plans to write more to you. More about my childhood/ my story. If you want to know, you can go back and read this blog. Or not, and just know that I love and pray for each one of you. I want to protect you as I want to protect my own daughters from the hurts this world can bring. But, just like your own mothers, I know I can’t. Only God can do that. Val and Jennie - you know what I am talking about now that you are mothers yourselves. Mothering is the toughest job you’ll ever do.
All 13 of you are beautiful and precious - and I just wanted you to know that.
I love you all! I miss you all!