Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What I Wish for My Niece

My niece's arrival is imminent and will probably happen sometime in the next 12 hours, depending on her preference of birthdate. I've never been an aunt before, have never had this role. But I can't wait. Already, even before her birth, I have so many hopes for this little girl. And so, in no particular order, here are those hopes, little niece of mine:

-that your favorite Disney princess is Belle, because let's face it, Belle kicks some serious ass. Not only is she the only princess who is an active reader, but Belle blows off Gaston because she clearly wants way more than some pretty boy (cough, every other Disney prince, cough). She refuses to let the Beast order her around, fangs or no fangs, AND at the end of the movie she comes to the Beast's rescue aided only by a teacup and some major gumption.

-that you make every man's head turn when you walk into a room and make their heads spin when you engage them in conversation

-that you can (when you're 21 of course) down a beer, crack open an oyster and take the meat off a whole chicken

- that you find the coastal South, whether or not you ever are a full time resident of it. Even if it's just on some vacation as a little girl, when you play in the sand or stare out the window of a car driving over a tidal marsh, I hope you find this place because a life without the coastal south is not a life at all in my opinion.

-that you love the ocean and find peace whenever you are near it

-that you believe in all sorts of irrational things, Santa and God and love and happy endings

-that you love snow, especially because you will be born when there's still a good bit of it left on the ground

-that you make mistakes, not big, tragic ones, but those little, ultimately unimportant mistakes that really define a life

-that you follow beauty, because out of everything in this world, sometimes I'm convinced that beauty( the soulful, honest kind, not the superficial, surface variety) is the only thing that really lasts in this world

-that you read anything and everything, that you fall deeply and hopelessly into the big woods and open plains of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the cozy New England home of the March sisters. I hope you sit with Francie on that fire-escape in Brooklyn and sail down rivers with Huck and Jim. I hope you swear to never go hungry again with Scarlett and discover magic alongside Harry. I hope you one day watch a bullfight alongside Hemingway, ache for true love next to Gatsby, fall in love with that typical bad boy, Heathcliff. I hope you are equally comfortable in the worlds of Jodi Picoult and Ian McEwan. I hope you befriend that hungry caterpillar and the oh so spoiled Eloise. I hope one day you cry with Anne Frank and mourn Charlotte along with Wilbur. I hope you believe in the world on the other side of that wardrobe as much as you believe in chocolate factories run by tiny, magical men. For that matter I hope you read every book Roald Dahl has ever written, because no childhood is complete without James and his peach and the BFG and Matilda. I hope you swoon for Mr. Darcy and follow Marlowe into the heart of darkness. I hope you discover Indians in your cupboard and castles in your attic. I hope you find solace and comfort and inspiritation and all of those wonderful things you can find so easily in books. I hope you crease your pages and wear down your covers and treat your books as old friends.

-that you can one day quote Casablanca and Zoolander in equal measure

-that you love chocolate

-that you see every single corner of this world

-that whether you're Buddhist or Catholic or Muslim or Agnostic you believe deeply in an all encompassing love, a force greater than yourself

-that you go to Paris when you are young and still a little bit naive

-that no boy ever breaks your heart but that you always leave your heart open to be broken

-that you sing along, loudly, to your favorite songs, and that you never think you're too cool to sing loudly along with Journey

-that you have a best friend

-that you have one perfect dance at a middle school or high school dance, with that boy to that song, trust me, you'll know what I'm talking about when the time comes

-that you obsess over at least one boy band, preferably more

-that you go to your first concert and scream and sing so loud that you're hoarse for days

-that you watch Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink, preferably all at once, and realize that it doesnt get much better than the 80s

-that you discover Beverly Hills 90210, and realize oh wait, it did get better than the 80s, in the 90s!

-that at some point you watch every single episode of Saved by the Bell

-that you cook only if you darn well like to cook, stay home with the children only if you darn well want to stay home with the children, and realize how blessed and fortunate you are to even have these choices

-that you can curse like a sailor around friends and act like a perfect lady in company

-that you are at ease in stillettos or sneakers, dresses or sweatpants

-that you never diet or think you're anything other than beautiful

-that you will let a boy open a literal door but metaphorically open your own, that you realize that you can be whatever you want to be, and that anyone who tells you otherwise is a fool

-that you act foolish and young and silly on many, many occasions

-that you have at least one slumber party where you stay up all night

-that you have at least one slumber party where you and your friends hold a sceance and/or try and levitate someone and/or play truth or dare

-that you realize that no trait in this world is as important as human decency, that one kind person is worth more than a hundred cool people

-that you're smarter than your aunt and accept that "popular" means absolutely squat, that you never try to be someone you're not in order to get in with the cool crowd, trust me on this one kid

-that you're always good to your momma and sweet to your daddy, no matter how old you are

-that you never act dumb to impress a boy, also trust me on this niece of mine, any boy who likes you because he thinks you're dumb is a waste of your time

-that you believe in fate and destiny and all of that stuff that adults have a hard time believing in

-that at least once you ride a really big roller coaster

-that at least once, as a pre-teen or teenager, you spend an entire day at the mall with your best friend

-that you not text until you're 20

-that you not Facebook until you're 30

-that you realize that one human connection is worth more than 1,000 facebook friends, that you leave the cell phone in your purse during dinner (on silent I might add), that you never text in company unless you ask the person you're with if they mind

-that you're a dutiful grandaughter

-that you NEVER agree to go out on a date with a boy if he asks you via text/Facebook/gchat/any other way wherein you do not hear his actual, live voice

-that you hold your ground and wait for boys to ask you out on proper dates, not hang-outs, not meet-ups, but an honest to goodness date. I don't care if this is the year 2025 or 2030, dates will never go out of style, you're worth it

-that you watch a lot of TV (just don't tell your mom and dad!)

-that you love politics and fashion, celebrity gossip and sports, that you never let anyone tell you that you can't love all of these things simultaneously

-that you have that one teacher who changes your life

-that you really love food

-that you're never afraid to ask questions

-that you identify with Buffy and think Bella is a vapid, idiot

-that you're not afraid to dance, even if you're a spaz, especially if you are a spaz

-that you find a dream, whether it's to be president (you are a DC child after all) or to study rare birds on some tropical island, find what you want to do, what you love to do and fight for it

-that you understand that class is a conscious choice, not an income bracket

-that you say the word "y'all"

-that you're opinionated and stubborn as a mule

-that you stay away from box hair dye

-that you never come within a ten foot radius of Sun-In (if they even still make that stuff)

-that you watch Titanic before the age of 12 and absolutely weep

-that you're just as happy playing basketball as playing dress-up

-that you realize that Barbies are not representative of the way women actually look

-that you realize that models are not representative of the way women actually look

-that you realize actresses are not representative of the way women actually look

-that you have a stuffed animal to sleep with

-that you're happy and healthy and loved every single second of your life

I hope all of this for you and more little girl. And I can't wait to watch you grow up.
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