I realize you have been nice for over a month and I am just now getting to your birthday letter! Perhaps you should have been born at a time when Aunt Jackie isn’t so busy. Just kidding of course. I’ve been writing this letter in my head for weeks, so that has to count for something.
As you are getting older, we are spending less time together, especially since COVID and Hannah became a ‘thing’. But that doesn’t mean I don’t see you being you. Who are you? Well, my long-legged beauty – you are wonderful.
First of all, you and Mikey are thick as thieves. Any time we get together it is the two of you scheming and you being in charge. You are a traditional older kid, like me and you OWN it. And in the world we are living in, I have high hopes for you my girl.
You are also sweet as can be to Hannah. I know she likes running with the big kids and you are more than happy to make her your living doll baby.
Mollie, you are so smart, sweet, and resilient. I love you, and welcome to the exciting age of nine!
Girl! You are one whole hand! How did that happen? How did your parents LET that happen?
What can I say about your turning five? You are a whirling dervish of a sweet kid. I absolutely love to see you interact with your cousin Hannah and hovering over her to make sure she is safe. Uncle Sammy and I talk a lot a out how much we admire you not taking crap from anyone (a lot like your momma), but managing to do it with a smile (like your daddy).
Right before your birthday, we had a funny conversation that really sums up your personality:
Aunt Jackie: Do you want Barbies for your birthday? Marcie: No, I have a lot of Barbies. Aunt Jackie: What about a Ken doll? Marcie: Who’s that? Aunt Jackie: Um, Barbie’s boyfriend, or guy friend. Marcie: Oh. She doesn’t need that. Aunt Jackie: You’re right. Go play.
I was so happy that things were getting back to normal annd we could hang out more often. You are always the life of the party.
I love you kiddo. I love your wild curls, your huge smile, your generous heart, and your always thinking brain. Oh, and your hugs. I can’t forget your hugs!
How are you one whole hand? I remember the day you were born – I am sure you will hear this story many times over, so I won’t bore you with the exciting details of your grand entrance again.
I am writing this to you as I fly from Maryland to Texas which gives me lots of time to think about what this year has brought for you. You didn’t become a sister this past year, but you really felt what it was like to have a little sister, especially one who required some extra attention. I was so impressed with how easily you bounced between houses, hung out in doctor’s offices and explained to everyone, even strangers, about your sister’s lip.
Uncle Sammy and I got to see you in action at your first (hopefully of many) ballet recitals. You also discovered My Little Ponies this year much to my excitement. Grandma and Grandpa got you the set for Christmas and you happily explained who everyone was. They have changed quite a bit since I was a little girl!
Your personality hasn’t changed one bit since you were born. You are still headstrong and sweet. One time, when we were going to the park to feed the ducks, you asked if I knew your Daddy. I explained that yes, I did know your Daddy, he is my brother. Well, you were having none of that and insisted it couldn’t be true. You were so adamant that I wasn’t your Daddy’s sister that I started to believe it myself! I can easily see law school in your future, but you could also be a superstar sales executive with your determination and sweet smile.
You and Mike have reached a new level of friendship that melts my heart. You both spent more time together this year and have shown him how things are done since you are a whole two months older, thus making you wise to the ways of the world. You could easily be one of his favorite people!
My sweet Mollie, happy 5th birthday. I hope this year brings you new adventures, new friends and more giggles. And selfishly, I hope you get more Barbies who need their hair brushed and outfits changed.
You are 1 (and a few weeks)! When on earth did that happen? Some days I feel like you are still a couple months old, but then I remember how much you’ve been through and I think you should be 16 by now. But alas, you are wonderfully one.
My sweet niece, you came into this world with so many people loving you and wondering what your future held – more so than other babies – because of your cleft. Once you were here it was obvious you were not going to be held back by that or anything else for that matter! We spent a lot of time together in the hospital MJ and while I hate that you had so many hospital visits, I am glad I could be there for you and your Momma and Daddy.
You have a personality bigger than I think we were ready for and that is going to take you places! If I had to place a bet, I think you are going to be the one to stand up to injustice. Why you ask? Well, you sit quietly and observe. You take in what’s going on and who is doing what. THEN when you think you’ve been wronged you voice your concerns. Loudly. More ice cream, warmer bottle, being picked up … we know what you want. I think you are going to use that quietness to see things that aren’t right in the world and then use your loud voice to make a change.
Your cousin Mikey is smitten with you. He always says ‘Mah-see is coot’. He will see a toy commercial on TV and say he wants to give it to you. I think between him and your sister you have quite a posse.
You have such an exciting life ahead of you with so many people in your corner. Sweet MJ, if you need anything ever Aunt Jay Jay has your back. I love you!
Have I written you a letter yet? I must have, I have so many things to tell you! But today the one thing I want to tell you is how much you have been on my mind and my heart. Today, my little love, you are getting your forever smile!
Everyone agrees how strange that is. Before you were born we looked at pictures and researched and tried to know what to expect. Then you arrived and it was like, ‘oh, yep. There’s the cleft lip’. Then after your first surgery we saw you again and thought, ‘oh, yep. They changed it’. They didn’t FIX it, they changed it. You were already uniquely you! And now you are getting another smile.
Guess what I will say when I see you again? Oh. Yep. They changed it.
But they can’t change the spunky, resiliant, outspoken (without speaking) you.
Happy Birthday sweet 4 year old! You have had quite a year haven’t you! Do you know my favorite part? Watching you become a big sister. It seems like you were born specifically to have a little sister. Your Momma shares so many pictures of the two of you that melt my heart. I bet as the years go on you will have a bond like no other.
You know what else melts my heart? You and Mikey, of course. I will always remember our morning at the ‘duck park’ when Mike was too nervous to run across the playground ‘shaky bridge and you confidently ran up, grabbed his hand and helped him across. That was such a fun morning – feeding the ducks, racing down the slide then coming back to our house for fun on the deck.
You are growing into a kind, funny girl Miss Mollie. You always have a story and a laugh for me. Plus you have quite a fashion sense – all of those things will get you far in life my dear. So, in honor of your 4th birthday, here are FOUR things I love about you right now:
Your giggle that makes your shoulders shoot up like you have a secret that you find hilarious.
Your love of all things Disney Princesses, specifically Ariel because I love her too!
Your adventurous nature – soccer, ballet, RIDING A UNICORN! You are up for anything.
You’re so kind with everyone you meet and everyone in your life – including Marcie and Mike.
Welcome to the world! I’ve written this note to you dozens of times, but I am not sure how to tell you how excited I am that you are finally here. Uncle Sammy and I got to visit you in the hospital and all I could see where your long skinny feet. I can picture you slipping on your ballet shoes in a few years. Or cleats – whatever you want sweetheart!
You are in for such a treat sweet girl – you were born into a family that is loud, funny and so full of love it can be overwhelming. You are one of the luckiest girls I know and I can’t wait to love on you and take you to the American Girl Store.
How on EARTH are you 3 today? It doesn’t seem possible, but then again, I feel like you should be turning 13. I don’t remember life before you and I can’t picture our life without you in it. When I think of ways to describe you, I think of just a few weeks ago on Easter. Everyone was milling around, helping get the food ready and catching up. I glanced over towards the front door and there you are – arms over your head like a ballerina just twirling. You were all alone in your own world dancing. It was in the moment I thought, ‘yep. That sums up Mollie’s world, dancing when literally no one is watching’. It was such a pure, innocent moment I will hold close.
My dear, you are a fabulous cousin to Mikey. Despite your small age range, you have taken it upon yourself to show him the ways of the world, just like we knew you would. He adores you as well! You are a happy, charming and polite kid, which comes as no surprise. You have an opinion on everything and a smile that will convince anyone to hand you the moon. Keep that going kid, it will take you places in life, just use that power for good – I know you will.
I was thinking this morning about where I was when you were born, a story I will probably tell every April 4th. I was on a cramped bus to New York City with my big belly full of Mikey. I had lots to time to pray for your Mom and Dad and think about the person you would become. You have not disappointed me kid.
Have an amazing birthday, thank you for making me an Aunt (and Uncle S. an Uncle!).
I can’t even believe you are turning 2. I remember writing you your 1st birthday letter and here I am reflecting on yet another year with you my sweet niece. Honestly, not much has changed. You are still just as beautiful, sweet and mischievous as you were LAST year. Perhaps this year you just have more hair.
I have so many favorite memories of you from this year I can’t pick just one. Most of them involve your milestones and how you interact with Mike. You are so kind with him and we can tell he is watching you to see how things are done.
One time you had me giggling was at your Daddy’s birthday you took your plate into the kitchen in hopes of a piece of cake only to come back into the room VERY upset your request was denied. A kid after my own heart!
I love you Mols, have a happy happy second birthday.
I haven’t written you a letter since your first birthday and now you are a big 20 month old! You’ve been rattling in my head a lot more lately and I wanted to give you a snapshot of your life right now, as viewed by your Aunt.
A buzzword right now is ‘spirited’ when it comes to describing kids, but I think it is a nice way to say ‘hard headed’. You are a bit of both – but that is a good thing, I promise. You know what you want and you are determined to figure out how to get it. Even it requires you to turn on your Barry Charm. Keep that up kid – it will come in handy when you are in the corner office.
You are so, so kind. I love when your mommy posts pictures of you holding your doll or when you pat Mike on the head. You are already such a good friend to him and I know in the future you will continue to be friends and eventually partners in crime. And ugh, the hugs! I love that you are full on wrapping arms around and meaning it.
You have the fashion sense of a socialite. Girl, you got it going on and you know it. Boots with leggings, skirts with understated frills and hair bows out the wazoo. When I am old and grey, will you visit me in the nursing home and make sure I am dressed nicely?
My little chow hound you make me belly laugh any time food is involved. You could be playing quietly and notice I have a piece of food and you start circling like a shark. Then you flash that smile and ‘wander’ over as if you just happened to be in the area and curious. Once I share a few bites I can kiss the rest of my meal goodbye into your open hand. Never, ever be afraid to eat sweet girl.
Another thing I love about you is your walk. It says, ‘I am going somewhere and you can either hang out until I get back, or follow me and try to keep up’. I have no doubt you will be leading the pack and with your personality – they will want to follow.