God has a plan for you, my beautiful, smart and extremely talented niece. I knew it from the very minute you came into this world. There you were at the Medical Center in Beaver, PA wrapped in my arms with a little cap on your gorgeous little head — I fell in love with you at that very moment. And then your grandma said, “look at all her hair,” and pulled the little cap off and there fell three or four inches of fine brown hair. Just precious. You changed my life at that very moment.
I spent almost every night at your house for the first six months of your life. I think your dad was probably sick of seeing me, but your mom would hand you to me and then go wash her floors or do laundry or other things. She was happy I was there. I would feed you and play with you — I couldn’t get enough of you — you just loved to snuggle in my arms. You fit there so perfectly. I used to look down at you while I fed you your bottle and talk to you about where life would take you. And dream about all the things God had planned for you, my tiny niece.
And then you were baptized and as your Godmother, I made a promise to always take care of you, keep you safe and teach you about our Catholic faith. Staying true to your faith will guide you and comfort you as you begin your new journey. And with every difficult decision you encounter along the way, find a quiet place and talk it over with God. He will give you the right answer. Always believe, Megan. Always believe deep inside of you that God will protect you and guide you. God has something wonderful planned for you.
I was there for so many of your firsts, Megan. Your first steps, your first words. Your first tears and your first giggles. You used to giggle at so many things — especially your little dog Barney. Or your bouncy chair. You were a beautiful, perfect baby — with big spiral curls and the bluest, most curious eyes. Even as you got older — I was there to see your accomplishments, awards, ceremonies and recognitions. I am so proud of you, Megan. I’m so thankful that I was able to experience so many of your firsts.
Your Mom and I took you everywhere. We would go to the mall on the weekends. I remember one trip to the mall where I bumped your head by accident on one of the metal clothing stands in Lazarus department store. You screamed and cried, and I took you outside of Lazarus inside the mall where we sat by the water fountain. I cried with you, because I hurt you. I remember holding you close and rubbing the little red mark on your head. I told you I was sorry and you smiled. I’ll never forget that. I’ve learned over the years that forgiveness is so important. Everybody makes mistakes and everybody learns from those mistakes. You have to forgive and move on and remember that most people are really good inside and want to do the right thing. Always give everyone the benefit of the doubt. You won’t regret that.
I believed more than anything that God sent you to us at the very moment in life when you were needed here. My dad, your grandpa or “Pappy Bob” was sick and you were that gem in his day that made all the difference, Megan. The relationship the two of you had was simply endearing — you would run to him, giggling and he would have a smile from ear to ear. Those moments and all the moments between you and my dad simply touched my heart. If you’re ever feeling alone or sad, just think about how special you are — you made such a difference in so many lives. And God’s plan for you is still unfolding!
I wish you would have known my dad the way we all did. He was a man of great faith who knew what was important in life. He could do anything he set his mind to and he taught all of us that. Dad’s advice was the best kind. He knew what the right answer was and was our guide. You and I got our talents from him. And today I believe he is your guide as you embark on this next chapter in your life. He’s looking down on you and is so, so, so proud of that little baby he knew for such a short time. Pappy Bob would sing to you all the time, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray. You never know dear how much I love you, please don’t take my sunshine away.” You gave him a reason to love life when life was dishing him lemons. It was you who changed his life.
So I watched you grow up into an amazing woman who is talented in so many ways. My dad always told me that if you do something in life with the talents God gave you, you would be so happy and fulfilled. You are a baker, a decorator, a designer. You are an artist, a painter, and a masterpiece creator. You have an incredible imagination that helps you dream big and your creativity is endless. You chose the right field of study — architecture. You’ll soon be immersed in a whole new world of textures, fabrics, upcycled, recycled, reclaimed, metals, woods, natural stones and countless other materials for fabrication. You’ll learn about the history of furniture and styles — what’s new, what’s old and what’s to come. And I’m going to be that pesky aunt who wants to know everything about coming.
Dream big, Megan. I believe you can do anything you put your mind to. Dream big for yourself and for those who matter in your life. Get a dream book and write down 100 dreams you have for yourself. That’s right. At least 100. You can write them, list them, draw them, doodle them. Take your dream book everywhere you go. Make notes and date them. Add to your book. Cross of things as you accomplish them. And find ways to make new ones come true. Don’t ever stop dreaming, Megan. Dreams will help you live life to the fullest. And, it will be interesting to see where your dreams today take you and what your dreams look like 10 years from now.
Love with all your heart. “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-7. This Bible passage is something I read at least once a week, especially if I’m upset about something. Whenever you’re annoyed with someone else or a situation, just read these words and know that if you believe in these words, the situation will just fall apart and go away. Try it! It really works.
Be the good in the world. And believe there is good in the world. That’s my best advice, my most favorite quote. Believe there is good in the world, because there is. And you have the opportunity to Be the Good by your actions and what you do. Your kindness already touches those around you. You are so smart and caring — you’re beautiful inside and out. Your smile is so genuine and the way you show respect to those around you is admirable. Goodness oozes from within you, Megan. And goodness is contagious! You’ll attract others just like you who believe they can make the world a better place for everyone.
God has a plan for you, Megan. It’s just starting to unfold before us. I sit here and think about how much you’ve grown up and how much I love you. We would have said, “I love you big piles!” when you were two years old. The answer is still “big piles!” I can’t help but wonder where life is going to take you. Get on that ride of life and hold on tight. Never let go and always climb higher. I believe anything is possible, Megan. And I’m anxious to watch as you move into the next chapter of yours, ready to experience more of your firsts that are yet to come.
Always B E L I E V E !
My beautiful nieces. Megan is on the left and Tara on my right.