For Clarissa


I feel so blessed that I could be in Texas for the birth of little Clarissa. She has now taken up residence in that part of my heart where I pray and worry and dream for my children and grandchildren. I have thought of her often these past couple of months and wish that I could once again hold her in my arms, rock her and whisper a blessing in her ear of all that I would hope for her. Like Fiona, Fauna and Merriweather, the matronly fairies in Sleeping Beauty, I wish I could wave my magic wand and bestow my deepest wishes upon her.

For Clarissa

My Dear Clarissa Ann, my little Southern Belle, you were born into a long line of Southern ladies, women gracious, hospitable and strong in every way. Texas ladies who single handily ran cattle ranches and cared for the sick. And in your line of ancestors you have those who fought in the Alamo and preached self-reliance and hope after the Civil War. I hope that you will be strong of character and gentle of heart as you look to this wonderful heritage you have through all the different lineages.

 You were also born into a city of diversity. It is a melting pot of so many cultures, a city of art and science, a city that put men on the moon and is a mecca for art and theater. I hope that you will carry this tradition in your heart also and be open to all. Seek learning and wisdom. Embrace science and math. Surround yourself with art and literature.  Follow your mother’s example of seeing beauty and delight in the smallest flowers and in the most glorious sunsets. Glean from her those principles of art– balance, movement, color and composition that will help you to look at the world with wonder and amazement. From your father learn reasoning and science so that your life will be balanced and full.

 Take advantage of every opportunity you will have for travel, to explore, to circle the world and to share your experiences with others. Live broadly and deeply. Read broadly and deeply. Love broadly and deeply. Know how much you are loved and thought about, no matter where you may be living. Know that even a picture brings joy to a Nana’s heart. You were born into an age when the world is shrinking and we are connected with each other in so many different ways, always take advantage of these to stay in touch, both with those you love intimately and those whose lives you may cross paths with briefly.

Gather all of life in a loosely woven basket. Gather the moon and the stars and the sunrises. Gather the smell of pines and the fragrance of roses. Gather the sounds of rushing rivers and the songs of birds at the end of the day. Gather smiles and tears and love and laughter. Gather hugs and pain. Gather manna daily from the poets and philosophers; the thinkers and the musicians. Gather joy and sorrow. Fill your basket to overflowing and then share with others. Give of your meager loaves and fishes and then gather the abundance that will come back to you.

I bless you that you will always be yourself and never try to be someone else. Nurture your spirit and soul and learn of those gifts which only you possess and which only you can use to help heal this world. Dream big. Live fully and at times even recklessly. Take risks and be prudent. Climb mountains and swim in oceans and then sit quietly under the stars and ponder your place in this vast universe. Rejoice in the mystery of it all. Be satisfied with not knowing while always continuing to seek.

Most importantly, I bless you with a strong heart, a loving heart, a giving heart. Open your arms and life to all those around you. Notice the one who is not within your circle and bring them into it. I pray that you will be healthy and strong. I pray that you will have all you desire and need in this life. I pray that you will be safe and secure. Never forget how much you are loved and prayed for and thought of and how delighted we are that you are part of our family, welcome to our hearts, our sweet, precious Rissy.



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4 Responses to For Clarissa

  1. Carolyn R Chase says:

    I love you Colleen Down and praise God that you and Steve and the family have come into our lives.

    This is beautiful.


    Description: 2012 Coriopsis signature Gratitude – let someone know:

    “You can never do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

  2. Cheryl says:

    Those are certainly beautiful words of wisdom. I hope she finds all of those blessings in her life. Thanks for sharing them with the rest of us as well.

  3. jessica says:

    This is so sweet. Thank you with all of my heart. She is lucky to have a fairy grandmother like you. I am going to print this out and frame it for her nursery.

  4. Cathy G. says:

    Beautiful! What a great life you envision for her!

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