Be Our Guest–In Which Sandra Encourages You to Be Kind

Dear Lily June,

One of my favorite things I’ve ever read was this little blip in a book called House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. He pens a dialogue between Echo and Narcissus, two figures of myth. Narcissus says, “I would die before I give you power over me,” and Echo responds, “I give you power over me.” That’s a little like what echoing my call for letters into the world is like, giving up the power to my blog and its letters, if only for a short while. In the meantime, here is my echo again:

I’ve put out a call to anyone (seriously! anyone!) who stumbles upon this blog to write you a letter for your upcoming first birthday on May 13. Below is the tenth of these I received, with my introduction to the fellow blogger who sent it.


It seems like Sandra stopped writing in her blog, tinydoseofhappiness, about a month after I started, and yet, her words and work were some of the earliest to influence me. I even nominated her (what feels like a million years ago) for a Dragon’s Loyalty Award, and so I was beyond pleasantly surprised to find her letter to you in my inbox all these months later.

Like Sandra blog’s last post about her grandmother says to, the sudden appearance of her letter reminds me that we must cherish each and every person who enters our lives, be it for a reason or a season, as a family member, friend, or stranger. If there’s anything I’ve learned from making your letters public, Lily, it’s that the lines between these groups is thinner than I might have ever imagined, and everyone who comments on and reads these letters leaves an enormous impression on my heart, like Sandra’s grandmother left in a much deeper way on hers.

In that way, I have thought more and more of my fellow bloggers–and thus my fellow members of humanity–as family. Don’t get me wrong, Lily; I’m still an extreme introvert, and thus, if I met Sandra on the street, I might not get up the gumption to even wave to her or throw her a smile. And yet, in reading her blog posts, I’ve learned how she thinks and feels, at least in small part, about the enormous concepts of the universe–death, God, love, loss.

She said in a precursor email to me that

“…it’s the tiny lessons of this universe that need a constant reminder.”

And yet, there’s nothing tiny to learn from a stranger whose heart is large enough to write to someone’s daughter whom she’s never met in this life. In another, perhaps, we will all be united physically, to embrace one another in body as we all have in mind. In the meantime, I give you, Lily, lessons from Sandra for you to remember, long after she’s likely forgotten me!

Dear Lily June,

I had already begun coining the words together for your letter before I even completed reading your mother’s blog post inviting letters for your 1st Birthday.

By the time you actually read some of the letters (and I hope you do) a mighty 5-6 years must’ve passed, and by the time you actually comprehend the significance of these letters and understand your mum’s motive behind this elaborate scheme, I dread the thought of the white hairs that will replace the dark mane on my head. But here’s the thing, Lily: a mother-daughter relationship is a rather tricky one. There will be days you’d call her your best friend, and there will be some when you’ll act like a stranger toward her, but, darling, be patient with your mother. She is as new to this as you are, and she opens her heart everyday to you. All you have to do is see.

Lily, I wish I could gather all the world’s knowledge and give you a heads-up for your life ahead. Unfortunately, I’m no psychic, hence I’m as clueless as you would be! However, there are a few things I’d like you to remember:

  1. Even on the toughest days, you have to pull yourself through.
  2. Hold onto every relationship that is dear to you.
  3. Say goodbye to relationships when you have to.
  4. Grant no one any right to hurt your self-esteem no matter what the circumstances might be, and…
  5. Above all Lily, I wish that you’ll grow into a wonderfully kind human being. There isn’t enough kindness in the world. Spread love and cheer as long as you’re here.

There are days, when I spiral into gloom and depression, and the whole world seems to be a mess. However, when I see random strangers writing heartfelt letters to a little girl for her birthday, the world suddenly doesn’t seem like the big angry giant that I had imagined it to be. Lily, let these letters remind you everyday that there exists goodness in this world. I hope you always remember that.

Happy Birthday, and Congratulations on completing a year in this big wide world.

Lots of love to you Lily,

Sandra of tinydoseofhappiness


Picture Credits:

10 thoughts on “Be Our Guest–In Which Sandra Encourages You to Be Kind

  1. bitsfromheaven says:

    DLJ miss Lily June sure has gotten some great bday letters! This one is filled with such wonderful advice. Sandra has such a way with her words and heart. It’s too bad she doesn’t have a blog anymore…I think I’d enjoy it immensely.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Lonna Hill says:

    I, too, am always thankful for those reminders that the world isn’t the big scary giant that it sometimes seems. It’s odd that those reminders so often come in the form of random individuals who will never know what a difference their kindness made.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. dearlilyjune says:

      Maybe we make the most impact not as family members but as random strangers. Our family expects a certain level of kindness from us–and we’re happy to give it–but strangers expect, at best, nothing from us. What a great gift when we can give unexpected kindness instead. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. sandraadp says:

    Thank you Alyssa for those kind words, I hope Lily had an amazing birthday. Btw congratulations to you too, you’ve successfully completed a year being a great mum! Wishing you and Lily only the best:)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. sandraadp says:

        Hey! I just saw this today, thank you!Umm I don’t remember if that day bought any significant joy, but I have a little boy now and he does bring me so much joy, I’ve now realised that I smile and laugh way more in a day than I used to. My love to Lily and I hope you’re well:)

        Liked by 1 person

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