To Savannah, on the occasion of your 5th birthday:
For nearly five years now, I've lamented the fact that I didn't write a letter like this to you on the day you were born. But I've grown up, learned, and changed so much since then that it's probably best this waited until now. On top of that, I have a better idea of how you're going to be raised and I think that's important as well.
Of course when it's all said and done, I'll be there for you no matter what. But I might not always be around right when you want or need someone...and that's what advice is for :) So I figured it was about time to impart a few tidbits of knowledge to you...
If you look like and have the metabolism of your mother, you're a lucky lucky girl. But if you don't, that's okay - beautiful women come in all shapes and sizes. Eat healthy, stay active, dress to fit your body; be a kind, positive person...and you will be gorgeous.
McDonald's is tasty and fun when you're a kid, but don't get too attached to it.
Don't be afraid to take chances and try new things. Never be afraid to fall in love.
Know that sometimes, you just have to let go - of a toxic friend, a relationship that doesn't fit, clothes that went out of fashion five years ago...the list goes on and on.
Have a pet. Or a few pets. They make everything better. (As a note, though, two cats is enough. Three is too many. Four or more is just ridiculous. I'm speaking from experience here.)
Sometimes, we all need a little help.
Work hard. When you're old enough to have a job, never call out "just because" - just because you don't feel like going, just because you're hung over, just because your job is boring...none of these are good reasons to not go to work.
Someday, you're probably going to drink alcohol. And maybe you'll get drunk. And you may even end up doing this more than once. But please, please know your limits. It's never cute to drink to the point of getting sick.
Considering that at five years old you're already obsessed with Jurassic Park and pirates, you'll probably be a geek. That is a-okay, because geeks truly are the best people out there ;)
Eventually you'll start thinking that your mom, your aunts, and your grandparents aren't in fact the most amazing, smartest people in the world. Just try not to be too harsh on us, because ten years later you'll realize that we all have our own stamps of coolness and intelligence.
Speaking of family, be an example for your younger sibling(s). They may not always think you're awesome, they may not always agree wit you - but be a person they can look up to.
People can be very, very mean. Especially children and teenagers. Try not to take what they say to heart, because you'll grow up and you'll be stronger for having dealt with whatever those mean kids throw at you.
Don't talk about people behind their backs. Even if you have to say something that you know they won't appreciate, do your best to say it to their face - and as kindly as possible. This is the way you end up with lifelong friends.
To be honest, I feel as if there are a hundred more things I could tell you, but I think for now I'll let it rest. You are already a smart, beautiful little person and I do hope you'll give me many more chances to help mold you into the best possible person you can be. Five years ago when we all got up at the crack of dawn and met your mother at the hospital for her c-section, I never could have anticipated all the love and laughter that you have brought to our family. You amaze me more and more every day; it's sad to see how fast you're growing up, but I'm also excited for the "lady" you are slowly becoming. I love you, Savannah, with all of my heart.
Your Auntie Tara