Dear Natalie Ellen,
I learned via a text message from your mother that you arrived in the world this afternoon. From your mom’s perspective – it was not a moment too soon. She’s been ranting for the better part of a week that she was ready to have you.
In fact, just yesterday she publicly stated that she was going to “plead her case” to the doctor. I, on the other hand, have been hoping you’d take your sweet time and come on Devil’s Night so I could pass the cool birthday baton to you. For your sake, I’m glad you arrived today!
But enough about your entry into the world – I’m sure your mom will never let you forget it, so I’ll leave that to her.
I want to tell you about the family you’re joining. Your mother is my oldest friend – we’ve known each other even before we started nursery school together – so I think I can paint a fair picture.
First, be prepared to be photographed. A LOT. Your mom comes by it honestly and can’t help herself. When you get irritated by it, ask if you can watch one of the old VHS tapes of her playing softball, swimming or at a dance recital – and then you’ll realize it could be much worse. And if she EVER tries to make you take piano lessons, ask her to play something for you first. I assure you: that will end the conversation.
Second, let me tell you now: You WILL be a Spartan fan. Some of your favorite childhood memories will be of tailgating with your parents in East Lansing and hanging with the children of your mom’s college roommates. You will learn from an early age how to “Sparty On!” and you’ll be able to sing the fight song before you enter kindergarten.
Her text from the hospital said, “We’re all doing fine. I’ll be home for the big game Saturday!” (For the record, MSU is currently ranked 5th in the nation and is 8-0 thus far this season. You’ll appreciate that when you’re older.)
As for your grandparents on the Dickinson side… they were like second parents to me for much of my childhood. They took me on my first trip to Cedar Point in second grade – when I was still too short and skinny to technically ride the Gemini. Your grandpa rode that ride with me and held me in the seat the entire ride. That’s the kind of guy he is – he likes a good time and wants the people around him to have a good time too. (Oh, and there’s the time when I completely ruined the cream colored upholstery in his new Oldsmobile Cutlass – because I’d gotten grease all over my ass at a McDonald’s – and he didn’t even raise his voice when he saw the damage.) That one is a very cool cat.
And your grandma – who doesn’t like to be called Grandma because she’s entirely too young for that – is one of the craftiest people I know. Had it not been for her sewing skills, I would’ve been fated to dress as a ghost every year for Halloween because my mom couldn’t sew. Instead, I always got to wear your mom’s costume from the year before – a dog, a dinosaur, a witch, a clown, a tea bag… (I know, that last one doesn’t quite, fit, does it?) She also taught me to cross-stitch and how to make a “Triscuit pizza” in the first microwave I ever laid eyes on.
As for your dad… make him your ally. Your mom is a pretty tough customer, but your dad has mastered the art of giving her what she wants and getting what he needs. That’s a subtle art, and you will undoubtedly need to call on it – especially when you’re in high school and hate your curfew. (If he sometimes embarrasses you because we owns binoculars and goes birding, let me tell you: you will one day find that AWESOME, so go with it.)
Your brother? Well, I’m sure initially he’s not going to be your biggest fan because you’re new to the scene and stealing his thunder. BUT, about the time you hit middle school and kids are jerks, you’re going to be VERY glad to have Nolan hovering around ready to kick some asses. Oh – and when he’s 21 and you’re not yet legal – you’re REALLY going to appreciate him.
There are so many stories to tell; I could write for hours. But you have years to hear the other stories, and trust me – the older you get, the better the stories we’ll tell you. One day you’ll fully appreciate what it is to be the granddaughter of a BOM. Just wait for it.
In the meantime, just know that you couldn’t be luckier. The world welcomes you and I can’t wait to meet you.
PS~ It is a LOCK that your mom is drinking a Miller Lite tonight to celebrate, if I know her.