To My Niece on Her Wedding Day

First time holding baby

I’m not quite sure how to begin this but to say that you are brave and that I love you. Yes, that’s me as a scrawny 10-year-old holding you for the first time. You weren’t a particularly big baby, but you seemed that way to me, propped up on the pillows of your mom and dad’s bed in their first house out in the country with the gravelly driveway.

I didn’t know how to hold babies and certainly not one this precious, you being the first grandkid and all. From the start you stole the show and yes, maybe I was a little bit jealous at first because I was no longer the baby of the family, but here was one who was cuter and smelled better and gurgled in truly the most adorable way.

I’ve watched you through the years transform into a beautiful woman, one who looks out for the interests of others, who is generous and kind with her time, her words and her resources, one who is wise beyond her years.

And now. You will be marrying this spectacular guy and I’ll be meeting him for the first time tomorrow. What if I don’t approve and have to give him the stink eye on his wedding day? I guess I’ll just have to deal because everybody else really, really likes him, and I’d just be the odd-man-out if I snubbed your new husband.

I know, this is my time to be offering wise advice, how to keep the embers burning, how to make love last, but I might just be one of the last people you should ask…instead (and I know you already have) look to your parents’ and grandparents’ example…

There will come a time when he will be frail and sick and need you in every way possible. Show up, care for him in the way that he needs it, not in the way you think he needs it.

There will be a time when you feel overshadowed and maybe a little bit jealous, rejoice in his successes like they were your own because, truly, they are. He has achieved this because of you not in spite of you.

There will be a time when you feel tired or grumpy or just need to be alone for a few hours. First, apologize for whatever you said in your sad/mad/sleepy stage and offer a hug. If said hug is not accepted at that time, know that it will be later. Then, take that time that you need to be alone, because you both will be better for it.

There will be a time when you are at an impasse. Pray. Pray hard because then God will change your heart or his, and maybe both of yours over time. I’m confident that God doesn’t leave us where we are–James 1:5 –“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

There will be misunderstanding, frustration, anger, silence sometimes but there will also be fantastic, amazing things like excitement, adoration, joy, comfort, fulfillment, generosity, surprise, laughter.

And one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard? Treat him better than you would your best friend.

Amanda, I don’t have much to give you but my words. I admire you so much. I don’t say that about a lot of people. I know that you are going to do this with God’s help. I know that Jesus has been shaping you and changing you (as he does with all of us). I’m also excited to see the fulfillment of God giving you the desire of your heart as you have delighted yourself in Him all these years.

Always know that you have someone praying for you, every day, miles away for the family that you are and that you will become, and if you’re smart (and I know you are) you have only to take a look around at your brothers’ broods to see what raising a family is all about. I’m excited for you. Go get this.

with love,

Aunt Rachel

Dear friends, since God loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.  I John 4:12

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