Jeremy and I have eighteen nieces and nephews that live hundreds and hundreds of miles away.  Fifteen of them are in Michigan and three of them in Arizona.  And it’s a little sad to me, because I love my siblings and their children and sometimes I wish that I could be the Aunt Laura that they all knew and not the Aunt Laura that lives in the faraway state of New York.  Thankfully though, considering our distance, within the past year, we were able to see most of our nieces and nephews.  And two of them in particular, celebrated birthdays today (we actually have two sets of nieces that share the same birthdays, something that is probably more common since there are eighteen of them).

So today, I thought I’d share letters to them both:

First off, Dear Sweet Naomi,

Happy Birthday Little Girl!  Granted, being the third out of five, you’re not considered so little in your family.  But for Aunt Laura who has kids that are soon to be 11 and 9, four still seems awfully little to me.

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This past summer when I saw you, we went to the park.  And you played your little heart out.  And in a skirt, no less.  You’re just like your cousin Ellee in that way.

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Naomi, you are sweet and a little sassy and so fun to be around.

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You sat so still when I wanted to braid up your hair and then even sat still while I took a nice picture of it.

Then you decided that you didn’t want your hair to be up, so you promptly took it out.  But good for you, for knowing what you want in life and for getting it taken care of, right?  It’s not such a bad thing.

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I’m so happy that I got to bring you doughnuts from Ryke’s Bakery.  It’s my trademark move so that someday, you’ll know that Aunt Laura loved you so much that she got you the good things in life.  And good doesn’t get much better than doughnuts, right sweet girl?

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Naomi, even though I can’t be there to celebrate your four amazing years, know that I love you so very much.  You are a beautiful girl on the outside, but know it’s most important to have a beautiful heart on the inside.  Because that is what Jesus sees, and that is what matters most.  Uncle Jeremy and I and Christian and Ellee love you so much.  Happy Birthday Sweet Naomi!

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And to Dear Baby Jae, on your very first birthday.

Congratulations, you did it!  It’s not easy, that first year.  And for you too, darling girl, know that Aunt Laura loves you and misses you so much!  I’m so thankful that we got to see you in New York this year.  Thank you for being mostly willing to sit by a dirty concrete wall so I could take this picture of you.  You were a trooper.

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And then we rewarded you by taking you to Long Island’s best Tea Room.  You got to eat tiny bits of a delicious scone and you enjoyed yourself so much.

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Jae, I’ve never seen a baby that random strangers love so much.  We took you all over town, and even up to Boston.  Your Mommy and I met our favorite Wahlberg and while we were delighted to meet Paul, he was most delighted to hold you.  You have that affect on people.

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Cousin Christian even took a few minutes out of his busy life to hang out with you.  Which is a testament to what a cool baby you are, since he doesn’t do that with any other ones that I’ve known.

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Funny enough, when you were here and we did another impromptu photo shoot in our yard, this was one of my favorite pictures.  Ellee was looking a bit confused, but Christian, I’m sure was telling you some good thing, like “Hey Jae, look at the camera,” and you were all like, “Sure kid, whatever.”  Chances are, that even though your cousins will probably always live far away, they will always still love you and want to tell you good things when they see you anyways.  Because cousins are awesome like that.

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All that being said, Happy 1st Birthday to our sweet Baby Jae!  We love you girl and hope you had a memorable day.

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And that’s what you do, when you have nieces that you love that live far away.  You write up words that you mean with all of your heart and hope that someday, no matter the distance, your family knows that love and words kind of make up for time that you wished you had together.  Even though we don’t live in the same states are our families, we love them and think of them often and wish them the best on their special days.

Written by lauraherr8

I love Jesus, my Youth Pastor Husband and our two beautiful children. I'm a professional photographer and I love people, especially kids. My best days include time with my family, Hot Yoga and a Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream cone.

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