Writerly Life

Dear Ella,

Lessons in teaching.

When your brother’s wife is having a baby and you’re in a room full of fourteen-year-olds, it’s totally okay to lose your teacher cool and feel kinda’ weepy. They love the drama anyway.

Ella Mae Smith was born on December 19, 2011 while I was teaching block three. This happyteacher is now ahappyaunt; want to see perfection? Snuggle up to Ella Mae while she takes a nap. Her little baby sounds and cutie little eyebrow arches will melt your heart before you know what hit you.

And then maybe because I’m a teacher, no probably because I’m a writer I decided that in these early days of her life, the best gift I could give to Miss Ella is a letter— writing, words that she can savor when she’s older and not sleeping so much. And so . . .

Dear Ella,

I love everything about you. I expected that, but I didn’t expect that you would take my breath away. I didn’t expect that with every coo and sigh you make, my heart would flutter. But, it does.

I didn’t expect that your Dad would turn into mush every time he sees you. I mean I expected it sometimes, but I’m telling you he’s pretty much always mush these days. I get a text message picture of you almost every day from him; proud doesn’t even begin to explain how he feels about you.

And your Mom, I didn’t expect to catch her staring at you in the middle of conversations. But it’s hard to focus on anything when you’re around.

Sometimes things happen the opposite of what you expect, but that’s okay. With you, it’s been more than okay, and that’s how the best stories are written—with unexpected feelings and jumps and slows in the road. And already you’re there, right at the very beginning of your life, already I know your story is gonna be good.

So Ella, I hope you pause when life doesn’t meet your expectations. I hope that little things take your breath away and make your heart flutter. I can’t wait to hear your stories and walk with you through life like only an Aunt can.

One thing I can promise you, you’ll never have to do anything more to have my love or your parents love— you’re loved because you’re you; you’re ours.

I love you Ella!— Aunt Rachel

5 replies on “Dear Ella,”

Oh… my … gosh. Truly the best gift, Rach. Thanks for that reminder. It makes me want to write a little note to every special baby that is about to be in my life. ha 🙂 Seriously- I started CRYING when I looked at the post and first read the bottom “I love you Ella!– Aunt Rachel.” Geesh. And I hadn’t even read anything yet.

Thank you for speaking truth into this beautiful little girl’s life and heart already, Rachel. Thank you for already covering her in love and letting her know that she is unconditionally loved. Simply because she breathed her first breath. Thank you for letting her know who she is.

I may have to stop reading notesfromahappyteacher. Between the reminiscing about our mom and our childhood, and now your writing about Ella, I have to try and not cry too much! Ella misses you Aunt Rach!

Rachel—I wish I had written this about my sister’s first-born, and my first Godchild. She is now 25 and about to get married, but your letter to Ella captures everything I have felt about my niece all her life. As Ella grows up, you will feel so proud and inspired. And of course, you will hold a very special place in her heart, too. Thank you.

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