An Open Letter To My Niece

Three At Faneuil Hall, Boston, MA, April 2013, College Tours, photo credit (c) Likeitiz

Three At Faneuil Hall, Boston, MA, April 2013, College Tours, photo credit (c) Likeitiz

I received a message by Facebook (yes, this is their preferred mode of communication and so we have to adapt!) from a niece that her younger sister is about to go for a retreat.  This will be her last retreat in high school. She will be graduating next Spring.

We had gone through College tours with her earlier this year. She wanted to see what the opportunities are for her in the United States.  And so, my hubby and I obliged and we went on the Campus Tours again last April.

Dear Ronna:

It has been a few months since your uncle and I have seen you.  We enjoyed your company when we toured around all the universities you wanted to see.  Remember Carnegie Deli and the humongous sandwiches?  And your colossal hamburger steak and beefy fries?  You barely dented that monster! And the milk shake too!

The Colossal Chopped Steak, The Jaw-breaking Whoopie Bacon Chicken Sandwich, and the Cheesy Bacon and Cheese Melt, all at Carnegie Deli, New York, April 2013, photo credit (c) Likeitiz

The Colossal Chopped Steak, The Jaw-breaking whoopee Bacon Chicken Sandwich, and the Cheesy Bacon and Cheese Melt, all at Carnegie Deli, New York, April 2013, photo credit (c) Likeitiz

We want to tell you that you are in such a great point in your life. Your future is right before you, ready for the taking.  In a few months, depending on where you decide to go for College, your world will go beyond the confines of the school you have known for more than a decade or the back and forth to and from home nearby.  Whichever path you choose, we’re confident, you will make your mark.

We have enjoyed your sister, Rica’s company recently, albeit briefly.  We can only wish her well on her journey to making her own mark in the world.  We have such high hopes for her too. One day, she will make a difference in the life of many people.

And so, on the eve of your retreat, what can we say to you that would provide you with enough substance to ponder on?  Not much really.  Your parents have taken care to instill in you all the values they hold dear, coupled with all the greatest dreams they have that you might become a happy accomplished and independent individual one day.

I’d like to leave with you a beautiful poem written by a dearly departed friend of mine.  My friend, Vanna (may she rest in peace) wrote this in 1974, when we were still such naive high school girls, not much different from your age.  Now, almost 40 years later, I hope it can still resonate:


by Vanna Virata, 1974

Let love carry you through thought,  

time and eternity.

Let it stream through your dreams at night

and in the half-light where danger lurks,

let love carry you through the terror of oblivion.


May love shine during your dullest hours

and cover you with effulgent beams.

May it stay luscious and never sour,

And may the sound of its dulcet symphony

weave a mist around your ears.

May its last note stay and gleam

and leave you breathless in remembering.


May your love be blest with God’s own nectar,

May you never lack for cream.

May the spices needed to flavour love

give no excess

or yet be tasteless as promises given in haste

that burst with each delicate bubble

and leave no trace —

save that of love forsaken.


May your love bring joy

though not much

to make you crapulous

forgetting love’s subtle suaveness;

May it bring you peace—

that kind which you abuse not

but keep within for refuge in distress.


And may Love bring you

dawnings of a million suns—

that cast no shadows on your bright face

Plus sunsets of a million rays

that scatter crystal hues and kisses

and bring that laughing colour

to gladden your days. 

Whatever it is you have shared with your friends, your teachers, your team mates, you will always take with you wherever you go.  They will fill the shelves and corners of your memory, lovely little nooks and crannies to remember and relive as you navigate through what’s ahead.

We want to tell you that we believe in you and your capabilities. We trust you will always steer towards what is good and fair.  We aspire to live vicariously through your stories, if you care to share them with us. Above all, we want you to know you are loved here just about as much as you are loved at home in Corinthian.

Somewhere in Rowayton, CT, April, 2013, photo credit (c) Likeitiz

Somewhere in Rowayton, CT, April, 2013, photo credit (c) Likeitiz


The Art of The Open Letter (


This entry was posted in College, Future, Letter Writing, Milestone, Retreat and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to An Open Letter To My Niece

  1. Paul says:

    You write so beautifully. Thank you.


  2. john todaro says:

    Such an awesome letter – such wonderful extended family connections seem to be fading away like so many good things.


  3. A priceless , loving gift your niece will always carry in her heart. A letter full of hope, positivity, faith and love that will sustain anyone during both times of joy and hardship. Thank you for sharing this. Have a great weekend.


  4. Writerlious says:

    She’s lucky to have such a great aunt! And your niece and her friends are soooo adorable–beautiful girls! 🙂


  5. writetowag says:

    Such an amazing poem!!!!


  6. The Hook says:

    Best. Aunt. Ever.


  7. seeker says:

    She’s so lucky to have you for an Aunt. All the best to your niece.


  8. munchow says:

    Such a lovely letter! So full of encouragement and wisdom. You nice is lucky to have such an aunt!


  9. Jeni says:

    What a fantastic letter this is. You’re lucky to have each other.


  10. lidipiri says:

    The poem is so beautiful. But even more so is the fact that she is blessed by such a supportive and caring aunt. All the best to her in her new chapter in the book of life.


  11. Terry says:

    what a beautiful letter. If I was the receiver of this I would treasure it


  12. auntyuta says:

    Thanks for posting this. The letter as well as the poem are beautiful. May your nieces lead a very happy and fulfilling life.


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