Monthly Archives: December 2012

Dear Olivia


You will only be 7 days old on Wednesday but you’d be surprised to learn of the change that a heartbeat alone can reverberate in that time span. Some say God made the world in a week (including a day of rest), so who are any of us to second-guess what’s been accomplished through the pure love and light that you’ve been radiating since your arrival?

On this end, though it might seem small, you’ve inspired your aunt to write again. Unfortunately, adults often convince themselves that they need REASONS to act while children smile, laugh, dance, cry and create just because they can. Yes, you’ve given me a reason to find the right words for a most perfect occasion, but more importantly, you’ve reminded me that ABILITY is reason enough to move and love and learn and make mistakes while I can.

Although you were born much sooner than any of us expected, our family has been waiting for a gift like you to come to your parents for longer than our hearts and theirs felt was bearable at times. The coexistence of such opposing time frames might sound odd, but you’ll learn as we continue to ourselves, that it’s the dualities that stretch and define us.

Photo courtesy of Grandpa Bob

Photo courtesy of Grandpa Bob

Even as a newborn, you are already more traveled than most. But well before your Mom and Dad were diplomats, you were the product of a very global journey. While your parents had the good fortune of forging a friendship at a college in Alabama, your Dad was on the other side of the world in India before he had the good sense to write a love letter we’re all so happy he mustered the courage to send. Even then, however, much of the beginning of your parents’ relationship was spent apart for a couple of years, as each had pursuits they needed to see through for themselves. Sometimes it takes traveling the whole world over—literally or figuratively—not only to notice what has always been right in front of us but to be ready for it as well.

Trust me when I say your Mom and Dad are fantastic tour guides, as Tara bought my first plane ticket, Zeb forced me to get my first passport, and together, they purchased my first “Lonely Planet.” Fun and atypically useful fact from your Aunt MoMo: That travel guide company name comes from a misheard line in a song from the 1970s called “Space Captain.” The actual words are “lovely planet,” but co-founder Tony Wheeler heard “lonely planet” and liked it. As you journey across the globe, my little Nairobi princess, I hope you remember that it can be both lonely and lovely for all of us, so live and act accordingly as best you can.

Finally, as you are my namesake, it’s only natural for me to wish for you brighter, fuller, friendlier experiences than even the ones I’ve been fortunate to have. I don’t want you to know skinned knees, bad haircuts, mean girls and boys, awkward middle school years, cramps, high school drama, panic attacks, nausea from public speaking, rejection, illness, fear, self-doubt, loss, heartache or regret. As much as it pains me, I don’t have the power to spare you from things that are difficult and ugly. I can’t baby-proof and bubble-wrap the sharp edges of the world but I CAN promise you this: These are the challenges that will enable you to connect.

Olivia Anne Simpson, we are just a few short chapters into the beautiful story that is you and it’s already a gift. Never forget you were hoped for and always remember you are loved.