Posted by: Maryann McCullough | May 1, 2014

Story for May, 2014





        Years before you were even a twinkle in your father’s eye, you and I would talk. Well, in truth, I would talk and you would politely listen, sometimes nodding in agreement, sometimes your face a map of concentration, analyzing and judging the wisdom of my words. I called you Sweet Pea then and (just in case my exit preceded your entrance) put those  words on paper. Do you remember when we talked about

(for a little girl in the making)

         I wonder what you will think about yourself.
        As someone who taught young people for many years, I am aware that one’s own mirror does not always provide a correct reflection. Like some fun-house mirror, it can misshape and distort and miss entirely the truth and beauty that is real.
         In my formative years I concluded I was wonderful and that is such a good thing to think about oneself. And while I cannot attest to this being a valid conclusion, that’s not the point. Certainly no one had ever told me I was not wonderful. Granted many of these hallmarks of wonderfulness were extrinsic to my character. I was a polite, blue-eyed blonde and the world liked that. I was Catholic and we Catholics knew that that was the best religion. And I was Irish, and I’d been informed that Irish was better than anything else you could be. I, of course, was a girl, and that was at least as good as being a boy. So without any deep introspection, I lived a blissful childhood, contentment verging on pride at the circumstances of my life.
        This did not create an obnoxious, arrogant little child; rather one who approached life and her fellowman with openness and confidence. Like some well- tended plant, I smiled out at the world, certain that it would smile back.
        There is a book you may read someday Its title is THE SECRET GARDEN and is about a young girl who grows up hearing only nice things. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful experience! No judging or limiting with words. For those we hear around our name make their way into our head and stay there. If the words surrounding you are “kind”, and “smart”, and “strong” and “beautiful” I think that is how you will grow. So choose carefully those you let inside that secret garden of your mind, and let them speak of the virtues they see. And join that cheering chorus yourself. Let the words you speak in the inside of your head affirm your value, your beauty, your gifts.
         When I was a little very young, I was taught to “examine my conscience.” Compiling that list of those things I had done wrong in a particular day was not a challenge for a scrupulous little girl. But that same little girl certainly did some good acts as well. Those acts just never made it onto a list.
         So I’m going to suggest that you do some examining yourself. As you’re settling into bed and looking back on your day, recall the times when you were shining, when the best in you came forth. When you shared, when you welcomed someone with a smile, when you really studied and got every word on the spelling test correct. Focus on the doughnut. The holes will likely still be there. They’re just not the important part for you to notice.
         I know you will be a loved child for will be planted in a big extended family who will welcome you with hugs and kisses. So your job, Sweet Pea, is just to grow and bloom. So welcome to the world, Miss Keira, Murphy McCullough!





  1. Lovely!

  2. Happy Grannyhood – for the 2nd time. and a girl to top it off. Congrats and love.

  3. You are one happy and wise Grammy

    Sent from my iPad


  4. this is a lovely letter for our little girl!

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