Monday, May 25, 2015

Letters to My Niece #4

Pretty Girls

May 25, 2015

Dear Niece,

Much to your oblivion, your family, often breaks into a debate about how you will be perceived when you grow up. We all know you'll be pretty, but will you be smart enough? Unfortunately, for girls, these two are often mutually exclusive qualities.

You are a girly girl, Niece. You admire yourself in the mirror, love to "fix" your hair (which often means you are making it worse), you have "dress" days and "shorts" days, you love to pose when the camera is on you ... and you're not even three yet. It is unbelievably adorable. But some of us worry that you will only be a pretty face. You will be narcissistic. You will have to bear the burden of being a pretty girl who always has to prove that she is smart too.

Like all grown ups, we've already started thinking about what you will be when you grow up, and a common consensus these days is that you'll become a model. Yes, we grown ups are steeped in stereotypical thinking – something I'd love for you to not pick up from us.

So the lesson for today's letter is actually a thought – what does it mean to be a pretty girl?

Here's a definition that works for me: Pretty girls are strong, smart and aware of their good looks, little one.

Don't let anyone tell you it's vain to be aware of your beauty. Be proud of it. Being pretty is not a burden to carry to your workplace – and pretty and intelligent are not an either/or choice. Don't be afraid to be gorgeous because you were made that way, enjoy that, cherish yourself in all your glory. Love yourself – what you see in the mirror and that which you don't. And when someone tells you, you are beautiful, know that they mean you, all of you, because only happy people are truly beautiful.

My pretty girl, also know this, that 'pretty' is only an adjective and you, little one, will never ever be limited to just that. You will be a hurricane of words, so choose wisely how you want to be described. So be pretty, be wild, be affectionate, be kind, be wise, be all of those things but most importantly, be happy.

Beautifully Yours

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Letters To My Niece #3

May 10, 2015

Dear Niece,

I did something stupid today and I'd like to explain why I think it was a stupid thing to do. Now, you may think it's a small, tiny mistake really, but in the larger scheme of things, what I did today could be disastrous for us both. Got your attention? Good.

I made yet another useless attempt to get you to shower your affection on me and I said something I shouldn't have. I believe I may have tried to bribe you to give me kiss? Something like, "looks like Janya doesn't want any gifts from masi," she recalls in shame.

Today's lesson is to not confuse love with gifts. What a silly thought, but in the grown up world, this happens more often than you think. You start counting the presents you got on your birthday instead of all your friends who took the time to wish you. You start counting the louder expressions of love, and lose count of those softer blessings that are uttered for you.

Take the time to be grateful for wishes said and those left unsaid.

It's easy to confuse these things with feelings. Mixed messages from silly aunts don't help, but I do hope you are always able to see the invisible hugs and kisses and prayers that come your way ... These will be many many more than all the 'things' you will ever receive. Countless, innumerable, endless! Like you would say right now – Wooooow!

Having said that, come August, you're getting a car on your third birthday and that's because masi is the best.

Your Confused Masi