Sunday, May 3, 2009

For my Niece: Why I Love You

One of my teenage nieces is having a rough time right now. She wrote me, needing a confidence boost, and asked, "Why do you love me? I know it's silly, but it would just help me out a lot right now if you could answer it."

So I thought about it for a while, and here's what I came up with.

Why I Love You

Pick one or all of the following. I vote for all of them.

I love you because you're a blood relative and it's a family obligation.

(Don't worry, they get better.)

I love you because I love your mom, she's one of my favorite people, and you're her daughter so you must be rather lovable by association.

Or heredity. Or something.

I love you because you like me just the way I am, and although you make fun of me for it sometimes, you really don't want me to change. You accept me for who I am.

I love you because you have ALWAYS, from your youngest years, attacked me and hung around me and teased me and stuff -- even though we would go two or three years between seeing each other. And when we get back together, it's like we were never apart.

I love you because you love me. But even if you didn't love me, I would love you anyway.

I love you because, um, what's the word? Because I admire you. You are smart (thanks to your mom and dad and the Man Upstairs), you are talented in so many ways, you are clever, you are witty, you are personable (that means you're a lot of fun to be around), and ... nope. That's it. There's more, but it all relates to your brain and your personality.

If looks mattered, and if I were 35 years younger and not related to you, I could fall in love with you very quickly because you're pretty. Easy on the eyes, as they say. You have a cute smile, a cute nose, and VERY expressive eyes, and nice hair even though I get it wrong every time I try to tell you what color it is. You have nice-looking legs, I'm sure as a result of your years of dancing. And I'm going to end this paragraph now.

Did I mention your voice? No? Okay. I love your voice.

I love you because you're NOT a girly-girl. You like camping and backpacking and doing stuff in the mountains. You're not afraid to get dirty and a little bit stinky.

I love you because you have an independent mind. You want to figure things out for yourself and do things your own way. And yet, having said that, I also love you because you are trying so hard to choose the right, to be righteous, and to be obedient to a Higher Power. I love you for the force of your testimony, and for the spirituality which hangs around you like a perfume -- sweet, delicate, and lingering . I love you for choosing the right and for expecting others to do the same.

I get amused by your tough-girl act, and yet I see you opening your heart and trying so hard to reach out to your peers when they're in trouble, and I love you for your charity and your empathy.

And when your tough-girl act breaks down and you come to me for reassurance and comfort like this, I love you for giving me a chance to see who you are on the inside.

I love you for the sassy little girl you were, the young woman you are, and the woman you are becoming. And I love you because you can be all three at once.

Want more? I can give you more.

All my love
Uncle Ray

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