Dear Juliet

by Andy Wood on May 10, 2019

in Photos, Turning Points

That was fast! But today, May 10, 2019, we welcomed you into our world. And I’m sure your parents and some new friends are happy you gave them a few days to arrive in Colorado (8 to be exact) before you decided to make an early entrance!

But enter you did! All 5-14 feisty little pounds of you.

This is the tenth such letter I have written, but only the second I’ve ever written to a granddaughter. In between you and Queen Laura Kate is a merry band of boys, three of whom lay claim to being your brother. Every one of your cousins and siblings is remarkable in his or her own right, but I have no doubt that you’ll take your own place in the grand design of things.

Your family has embarked on a new adventure as they pursue God’s call on their lives. Your Daddy… those were the big, strong arms you rested in that stopped you from crying when you were born. He’s over-the-top excited to have a baby girl. Of course, that was after he freaked out in absolute terror over the very thought. Anyway, your Daddy lives with passion, leads with love, and follows hard after Jesus. He will show you how to do all three of those yourself.

He also has opinions. Lots and lots of opinions. Just ask. Or not. Either way, just roll (Tide) with it.

Your mother is the queen of “What’s the big deal about having babies, this is easy!” She loves deeply, competes ferociously, and is one of the most brilliant people you will ever know. She has been an extraordinary gift to our family, and a beautiful example of what it means to be a godly woman, wife, mother, and grace-giver.

Together, your parents have committed their lives to making a difference in their world – a world that Jesus Christ died for and a kingdom that He came to establish. They aren’t perfect people; none of us are. But they’re people worth following. Learning from. Loving. Imitating. And for what it’s worth, I think they make a fantastic team.

Speaking of teams, those brothers of yours – Jackson, Jonah, and James – are something. Full of intelligence, passion, and charm, they all thing it’s pretty awesome to have a little sister.

I’m sorry you’re going to have to hang out in the hospital for a few extra days. But it reminds me of a time 33 years ago when your father went through something similar. If you turn out to be anything like him in terms of cheerfulness, passion, love for people, and love for God that he is, then you’re off to a good start.

I know you’re in a NICU, but I should just warn you – around this time tomorrow, brace for impact. Grammy… her name is Grammy. She’ll be there very soon. She’s one of those special people that once you meet, you can’t “unmeet.” You’ll know what I mean soon enough.

You have the privilege of calling yourself a native. I hear in Colorado that’s a thing. You’re a citizen of a state that’s a symbol of love to me – it’s where your Grammy and I went on our honeymoon almost 36 years ago. Now it will forever reflect love of another kind, and I am very grateful.

You also represent a rich family heritage on both sides of your family. Soon enough you will hear about life on the Gulf Coast in Houston and Mobile, the dusty plains of West Texas, and a special place called Abilene. You’ll also catch a contagious love for the world, sometimes spoken in English, sometimes in Thai. And there’s this farm in Alabama. I can’t wait for you to hop in the back of the pickup and for us to roam around there a little.

My only regret is that my parents – your Great Grandmother and Great Grandpaw – aren’t here to celebrate this day. At least not this side of heaven. But you carry their heritage as sure as you carry mine.

So. Juliet. Beware of a place called “Disney.” It appears to be addictive, and our family seems to carry that addictive gene. And if the TV is on in the fall on a Saturday afternoon, I suggest you learn to say “Roll Tide” early and often. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

You were born in a time of tension and some turmoil, but that could be said of just about any baby at any time. Some people in China are mad because we just made their stuff more expensive to buy here. Some people here are mad about it too. In fact, there are just a lot of mad, mad, mad, mad people about a lot of things. Except nobody seems all that mad about jobs lately – most everybody who wants a job can have one. Anyway, you’re here now, so we all can just turn that frown upside down and get glad. Hey, it works for me.

Your name – Juliet – means “youthful.” It’s a variation of your grandfather’s name and represents a strong, loving, and beautiful heritage. It’s also a call and reminder for you to choose to be forever young. Curious. Creative. Energetic. Laughter-ready. I pray that’s true of you, and that throughout your life you will always be a friend of children.

Your middle name – Amia – means “beloved.” You carry the name of a precious family friend who is bold in her faith, kindness, hope, and love. I can’t imagine something finer that could be said of you as well. Be bold. Kind. Hopeful. Loving. And the world will know you made your mark.

I’m a little sad that I can’t be there today, but I’ll see you in a few. Just know that your Grammy and I have a love for you that is longer than the many (frequent flier) miles and higher than those grand mountains on your horizon. And regardless of the distance or nearness, your successes or failures, or your choice of university (Roll Tide), we will love you. Completely. Devotedly.

So welcome, Young Beloved. We are beyond grateful you are here.

Now let’s have some fun.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Martha J Orlando May 10, 2019 at 5:16 pm

Welcome to the world, precious Juliet!!! Andy, this tribute to your new granddaughter is absolutely beautiful, and obviously, heartfelt. May this new little one fill your hearts with more joy and love than ever you could imagine! (Oh, wait, I think she already has.)
Blessings to you, Robin and the entire family!

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