Dear Tami –

You are definitely my very favorite niece. Oh, stop. Wait. I’m not sure you are actually my niece. You are so awesome, though. I wish I were more like you!!!!!!

And, I have another favorite niece too, so I guess what I’m saying is you are definitely one of my two favorite nieces. Of course one is actually a niece.

Whatever . . .

This post is for you and you alone.

I remember the first time I ever met you. It was [surprise!] at Meeks’ Cabin Campground. I think I had just moved back this way after spending a decade out east with you know. I thought it was kind of wierd that Tracy knew you because I didn’t even know you. I did spend time with your Mom at reunions and family goings-on, [can you imagine! Some people say going-ons!] but didn’t know much more than names. I wasn’t very close to your family because I thought they kind of looked down on us Smith kids and so I pretty much steered clear of all persons named Rollins. I’m sure it was one of my earliest inferiority complexes just beginning to take root.

I was slightly removed from all things happening around me because, well, I had some personal trauma to deal with, and it pretty much consumed me. Ask any of my five children who have had to fend for themselves for the last half of the previous century. But you came along and mostly took Tracy’s mind off several divorces and marriages. You distracted her from reality and you became such a wonderful confidant and friend. You two talked about everything — and I do mean everything — many of which have embarrassed the dickens out of everyone in my generation. You have supported her and encouraged her.

Then, you and I began to be friends, as well. I think it was when you started going to GRL with us. You were so strong and courageous to haul your growing and expanding family up there and stay in the rain and mud and cold with us. I mean, WE love it, but hardly expected YOU to. You played Rook with us. And you stole my heart. You stood your ground against Mr. Sarcastic, who we have all learned to love and adore. You nursed and hiked at the same time. You nursed, hiked and changed diapers at the same time. You nursed, hiked, changed diapers, tossed in a line, swam the river and shooed off bears.


And we shared some tender moments.

Then you hugged me a couple of times and although I’m not the touchy type [more information on that here] it felt good.

I have been hearing rumblings that you and your family might move a couple hundred miles back this direction and that thrills me to no end because, well, mostly because my daughter, Tracy, needs you.

I surely hope this post will make up for all the times I have neglected to write on a daily basis. Some days my weight gets to me and I think how the heck can I write anything interesting or inspiring or thought-provoking or of value when I weigh a ton. A TON!

And look at you!!!!! You don’t even blog about the ups and downs of weight loss. You just go and lose 30 pounds! You show up at Mikelle’s sealing looking like a bazillion bazookas, all trim and gorgeous without the never-ending drama and trauma of moi! I recognize all over again that you can pretty much do anything you set your mind to.

So, now I’m all envious and proud of you at the same time!!!!

Even though you do tend to bring out my most visible idiosyncrasies and character flaws, I think you are just the most amazing [and I don’t say that lightly or often, oh, wait, maybe I do . . .] and wonderful person and if you were here right this minute, I believe it would only be appropriate to throw confetti in your general direction. As a celebration of sorts! [Thank you Jessica.]

Love you!!!!!

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