Dear Mary

  • Feb 8, 2012

I have to admit I’m stumped on exactly what to say. I think because this is a birthday I’ve looked forward to even though I knew I would miss it.


You’re turning eight and whenever anyone turns eight we all seem to think about baptism. Especially as a missionary, baptism is a subject of daily conversation.


And now you, my own sister are getting baptized.


Everyone is probably talking to you about baptism though and you might even be getting sick of it. I don’t want to bug you about it too much, but I do want to tell you it’s a good thing. In fact, it’s so good, you’ll remember it your whole life.


I remember the day I got baptized there was no hot water for the font so the family of the other boy spent the morning boiling pots of water and throwing them in the font.


Afterward when we were changing into our dry clothes we discovered that I did not have an extra pair of underwear. Dad laughed and then I spent the rest of the day commando.


It was a crazy day and all the attention on me made me feel funny. So the lesson to be learned is remember an extra pair of underwear– but even if you don’t, not all is lost.


I have to say, you are not the little girl I left behind. I wouldn’t say you are old, but probably a girl instead of a little girl.


Lately I seem to be following a trend of thinking about when you were born and I think I’ll keep it going. I remember one night Mom and Dad went to the doctor to find out if you were a boy or a girl (this was before you were born of course); they came home with a box for us to unwrap.


We unwrapped the box to find little pink clothes. A girl! We were having a sister. But to tell you the truth I think Mom and Dad knew you were a girl before that. Much earlier.


Mom and Dad thought they were done having kids. They had five boys and a lot of days they even thought about selling one of us. They had enough kids.


But they changed their minds. I know why they did, but I just decided you’ll have to ask them. It’s their story to tell.


Anyway, before long you were born and you’ve been with us ever since. I have a sister! Isn’t that exciting? And I want you to know I am happy about that. I love you.


Three cheers for the best sister of all time. May your craziness and spunkiness never cease, may your hair grow beautiful and bright and may you continue to shock and amaze us by being a sister.


I still sit in wonder and awe sometime thinking I am the brother of a sister. I’m so happy we have a girl in our family (besides mom, of course). Isn’t it wonderful? What a blessing you are.


One of the things I love the most about you lately is that you miss me. I wouldn’t say it to anyone else, but will you keep missing me?


You’re the only sister I have and there are more years between you and me than anyone else. I don’t know if I’ll ever really live with you again, but I want you to miss me for now because I miss you.


I hope your baptism is wonderful and I hear lots about it. Love you lots Miss Mary.


Love, your brother in Italy, Ben.
February 10, 2012



  1. Reply

    Emi Edgley

    February 8, 2012

    Ben: you nailed it on this one. Way to make a grown woman cry in the grocery store.

  2. Reply


    February 8, 2012

    Well that is enough to make one cry.

  3. Reply


    February 8, 2012

    Beautiful. And the letter from Ben is pretty special too!

  4. Reply


    February 8, 2012

    So sweet Michelle (and Ben). And Ben – what sage advice! To remember a second pair… ; ) Note to self. Mary – you are breathtaking and beautiful, and luminous in white. Can’t wait to see you on your special day. xoxo

  5. Reply


    February 8, 2012

    One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read! It definitely brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Reply

    Sorensen Family

    February 9, 2012

    Yep, I cried, too. I’ve been reading your blog after seeing a link from a friends blog. Your family is amazing. If I am even half the amazingMom that you are, then I’d be happy! And if my sons could learn to write letters like Ben while on their missions, I’d be happy, too. Until then, I enjoy keeping up with your family. Love your photography, too!

  7. Reply


    February 9, 2012

    Sigh…almost it’s enough to make me wish I had another baby for my big kids to love. (Almost.)
    But so so so sweet, Michelle. What a lovely memory for your sweet beloved Mary.

  8. Reply


    February 9, 2012

    Tears. Beautiful.xo

  9. Reply


    February 9, 2012

    Seriously? That was the best blog post in the history of all blog posts. Oh my word… Mary is one lucky lady to be born into a family of such caring & adoring brothers. Ben, you are top notch.

  10. Reply


    February 9, 2012

    Of COURSE Mary has brothers that match her in awesomeness! (Though they don’t match her in sparkliness, I have to say!)

    Bravo to Ben!

  11. Reply


    February 9, 2012

    just sob. What a treasure for Mary to carry with her for a lifetime and pull out on days when it seems all the mean people are busy getting their mean on. We all need a little dose of adoration. Mary is one lucky girl (not little girl, anymore).

  12. Reply

    The Planet Pink

    February 9, 2012

    Michelle, you’ve clearly done something right. What a blessing to have raised a son who so adores his baby sister.

  13. Reply

    Anne Marie

    February 9, 2012

    I am in awe…truly. Your sweet, lovely daughter. Your kind, thoughtful son. I don’t know if you realize how unusual it is to have raised sons who care like that. I wish I could somehow soak up all your mothering secrets and use them in parenting my own four sons. Wishing you a happy belated birthday. You are clearly a healer. Look at all those who love you.

  14. Reply


    February 9, 2012

    How this just melted my heart! Thank you Michelle for sharing your wise missionary and his beautiful sister along with your gifted photography. I am always uplifted by a visit to your blog. Even in your difficulties, you find a way to see the beauty in the world and I appreciate you.

  15. Reply

    Laurel C.

    February 9, 2012

    Beautiful words. Beautiful photography. Beautiful girl. This was absolutely stunning.

    And PS: Ben is one amazing letter writer. If he’s writing to a girlfriend, I’ll bet he makes her swoon each week.

  16. Reply


    February 10, 2012

    Sweetest letter ever.

  17. Reply


    February 10, 2012

    I love this so much for so many reasons! Thanks for sharing.

  18. Reply


    February 13, 2012

    oh my word. just precious!

  19. Reply


    February 15, 2012

    How will I get through the day after reading this? My tear-stained face is sure to concern everyone around me!

  20. Reply


    February 16, 2012

    Wow, absolutely stunning! The photos are so lovely & the words, just wow! What a precious blessing!