Sweet Baby Girl

I saw pictures of you today on my cellphone. You are so tiny. You were sleeping in a clear plastic bubble, in a hospital room with other premature babies. Trying to breathe.

I want you to know that I’m praying for you to pull through. I haven’t skipped a day. I even pray for you before we eat dinner. Every evening.

Last night we had meatloaf. I love meatloaf. But we didn’t feel right eating until we said a few words for you.

You will pull through, of course. You have to. And when you do I want you to grow up to laugh a lot. I really mean this. I want you to laugh at the drop of a dime, like a nutty person.

I wish someone would have told me to do this, I could have saved myself a few years. When you get older it’s harder to chuckle.

Soon, you’ll be healthier, and off your breathing tube, and you’ll be able to laugh. And that’s what we all want to see. Believe me. People will be visiting your hospital room and cuddling you with the sole purposes of seeing you smile or laugh.

We adults LOVE to see babies laugh. We will tickle your fat little legs, talk in high-pitched voices, jingle our keys in your face, and blatantly put our fingers into your armpits just to see you grin. And if you don’t laugh, it will hurt our feelings.

So laugh. Laugh too much. Laugh at inappropriate times. Laugh at yourself. And don’t ever stop doing this.

Because for some reason, when you grow up, everything changes. I don’t know why, but it does. In school, you’ll learn how to “sit still,” “be quiet,” “pay attention,” “raise your hand,” “chew your food,” “don’t interrupt,” “drink your milk.”

And if you’re a boy who plans on living past his thirteenth birthday, you will “put the toilet seat back down.”

Then you learn to “get serious about your future,” “make plans,” “earn a living,” and “invest in IRAs.”

But where’s the laughing? Where is all the smiling? We adults forget how.

So just keep doing your thing. Keep being silly. Dance in your room. Sing often. Any song you can think of. And I’m not being allegorical here. I mean actually sing and dance. You’d be surprised how much better this can make you feel. If more people sang along with car radios there would be less need for Metamucil.

And don’t forget to be nice to animals. I’ll bet you come from a long line of people who love animals. So do I.

In fact, did you know that in World War II the Europeans considered Americans to be oddballs because of how we coddled animals? Of course you didn’t know that. You’re still a baby. You have more important things to worry about.

But it’s true. Europeans were surprised to see that American soldiers were so crazy about animals.

Dogs in particular. Did you know that our infantrymen were adopting stray dogs right and left in the heat of battle? It’s true. Naval men kept puppies below deck. Airmen had their own strays, and even raised kittens. There were pets running around everywhere. And this was a WAR for crying out loud.

My friend’s grandfather once told me a World War II story about a dog named “Ziggy.” Ziggy was his army pet in Italy. He found Ziggy stranded on a battlefield, curled next to a dead mama dog.

Ziggy followed the soldiers everywhere across a battle-weary Europe. And when the war was over, a young Texan smuggled Ziggy back home. Ziggy died at a ripe old age in Houston.

I hope you grow up to love dogs. And I hope you spend more time with them than you do on cellphones.

Because that’s another thing. Right now, you don’t even know what a cellphone is. But you will. By the time you’re a teenager, these things will probably be more popular than they are now.

Don’t get me wrong, smartphones are nice. You can do everything from checking the weather to flushing your toilet from another zip code.

But they change a person a little. They make it hard to focus on nature’s wonderful things. So spend more time finding frogs, drawing pictures, riding bikes, blowing bubbles, roller skating, or having conversations with elderly people.

Which reminds me. One last thing. Old people. Look for them, make friends with them, attach yourself to them, ask them questions. Elderly people are your ticket to a good life. They know SO MUCH.

Going through heartbreak? Find an old guy, he’s been sixteen once. Feeling confused about what comes after high school? Find an old woman, she knows how you’re feeling. Not sure if your boyfriend is the one to marry? Get an old person. And quick.

And when you’re talking to these older people, maybe in a nursing home, or in an assisted living facility, you’ll notice something about them. It will take you off guard at first. You’ll look into their eyes and notice that these elderly people look very familiar. What is it about them? Then it will hit you.

Long ago, when you were in a clear plastic bubble, these were the same people who were praying for you to pull through. On that fine day I will likely be in the nursing home cafeteria. Eating meatloaf. Come find me.

Because I will want to see you laugh.


  1. Sarah - August 27, 2020 7:01 am


  2. Sandi. - August 27, 2020 8:24 am

    What a heartwarmng letter to a premature baby. I hope her parents save it for her to read some future day. It’s a treasured keepsake!

  3. Sandi. - August 27, 2020 8:26 am

    What a heartwarming letter to a premature baby. I hope her parents save it for her to read some future day. It’s a treasured keepsake!

  4. Mary - August 27, 2020 8:43 am

    So beautiful and caring. ❤️

  5. Patricia Patton - August 27, 2020 8:58 am

    That is an awesome message for any age. Learn to laugh and laugh often. Thank you!

  6. Judith A Mercer - August 27, 2020 10:31 am

    Beautiful message for all of us to remember…thank you!

  7. Retired Ol' Geezer - August 27, 2020 11:29 am

    Please keep us updated on what happens. Thanks.

  8. Tracey - August 27, 2020 11:58 am

    Wonderful message. So often when I read your daily offering I’ll experience both laughter and tears as I move through the piece. You have a lovely talent, and I thank you for sharing it with the world. Reading your post is always a highlight of my day.

  9. Debbie - August 27, 2020 11:59 am

    What a wonderful message for all of us! I’m going to ask my introspective, serious husband to read it then I’m going to ask (require😉) that he start acting silly and laughing more 🤣😅😂

  10. Christopher Spencer - August 27, 2020 12:25 pm

    Best advice ever!! My prayers she is soon well and lives a long, healthy and happy life, laughing all the way.

  11. Betty F. - August 27, 2020 12:47 pm

    Please update us at some point on this little one and not leave us wondering.

  12. Linda - August 27, 2020 1:29 pm

    Good advice to learn from old people….my Mother had so many wonderful sayings and one of them was, “ Why do you kids have to learn the hard way ? “But as you get older and people pass on….who do we ask for advice ?
    Part of the joy in getting older is that you are still here but there is no one above you to ask for advice…
    Wish I had a telephone line to heaven…..
    Keep up the good advice , Sean….

  13. Betty - August 27, 2020 1:48 pm

    Best one yet and I say that from my heart because the more you have written the better you get and you were already good when you started sharing your life experiences. Thank you Sean, for helping us realize people and experiences are the most important part of life.

  14. John - August 27, 2020 1:57 pm

    We have a premie grandson. He is now 11 years old and in 6th grade. He was born at 25 weeks and stayed in the hospital until after his original due date before coming home with O2 sensors, tubes and monitors. We kept him last Tuesday while his parents were working since he doesn’t start school until next week. He and I laughed as he showed me a game he was playing. I love to hear him laugh. Oh the times we spent seeing him in his incubator at the NICU. My wife would talk to him and tell him she would give him anything he wanted if he would just breathe! He is a joy to be around and is smart and talented.

  15. Carolyn - August 27, 2020 2:37 pm

    I think this is one of your best stories ever. So much love in every word. I’ll be praying for her. Do keep us posted .

  16. Ann - August 27, 2020 2:42 pm

    Every line is perfect… advice… experience… laughter..
    You nailed it !

  17. Katherine Kempf Jones - August 27, 2020 3:33 pm

    Once again, LOL, Sean, you’ve done it! Connected my current moment to my past AND made me chuckle in recognition of the truth of these words. Yes, meatloaf IS it’s own food group. Well done!

  18. Patricia Schwindt - August 27, 2020 4:47 pm

    OMG. Once again, you’ve hit it out of the park! Amazing. Beautiful. And so right on! Thank you.

  19. Mary Louise Griffin - August 27, 2020 4:49 pm

    I love to read. A lot. I read all the time. I inherited my dad’s books and have a boatload of my own. My husband is a carpenter and it’s a good thing. He has made me 4 floor to ceiling bookcases in the last 3 years. Among all those authors you are the writer that consistently makes me laugh and cry. Both are a good thing. Thanks. I appreciate your work and that you share it with the rest of us.

  20. Patricia Gibson - August 27, 2020 4:49 pm

    Amen Sean! Laugh often. The best medicine ever🤣

  21. Linda Moon - August 27, 2020 4:56 pm

    I usually agree with your insightful words, Writer. But not now. I’m older than you and it’s NOT harder to chuckle. (I just did). And I’m telling you this from one “nutty” person to another: LAUGH from the beginning to the end of LIFE. I hope to find you again at a LIVE event before you or I are in a nursing home, because you often give me the best medicine of all: Laughter. I just said a few words for the sweet baby. I want her to grow up laughing. Please let us readers know when she does this for the first of many, many times.

  22. Frances D Lester - August 27, 2020 5:10 pm

    My Aunt Frances said of her son who had, barely , survived an automobile accident that killed his best friend , “There he lay in bed with his eyeballs yellow as lemons!”
    Taken to task for her levity, she said:”Might as well laugh! Nobody wants to hear you cry!”
    Those have been my guiding words ever since! We all miss her mightily but we remember her with many smiles!
    Prayers for your baby friend and all her family. Wishing them a long lifetime of laughter!

  23. Carol Luttschwager - August 27, 2020 7:30 pm

    How very touching. I had a premiere in 1962. Less than 3 lbs, 13 inches long. He’s now 6’2” and 185. Took a long time for him to grow, but when he started, he really grew fast. Keep praying for this precious baby 👶 girl.

  24. Evelyn Mann-Wilder - August 27, 2020 10:25 pm

    Such a fine piece, filled with wisdom and so charmingly written. Thank you for sharing your talent.

  25. cekey44 - August 27, 2020 11:59 pm

    No composer in history has ever come close to making music anywhere near as beautiful as a child’s laughter.

  26. Chasity Davis Ritter - August 28, 2020 12:33 am

    Prayers for this sweet precious child….. so many trivial things we worry about when there are great things to be praying for all the time like this baby… and the hurricane and an end to Corona and my friend Sean

  27. Hazel Barber - August 28, 2020 1:38 am

    Heartwarming, loving and kind. Sean, you gift us to all of us just as this letter will be to that sweet angel when she grows up.
    Father, may she laugh long and hard all the days of her life.🙏🏻

  28. Pam Beauchamp - August 28, 2020 4:42 am

    Old people are a wealth of knowledge and love❤️

  29. Cheryl Clem - August 30, 2020 11:19 am

    The Best.

  30. Pat McGilberry - September 4, 2020 1:10 am

    I love love your stories. You make me cry and laugh and feel. Please come closer to speak sometime. Like Montgomery .

  31. Susan - October 1, 2020 4:24 pm

    I had twin girls born at 27 weeks, 1 lb 10 oz and
    2 lb 1 oz. We baptized them right away because…well you know. They’re 25 years old now.
    I’m going to send this story to them to remind them to laugh more while they’re struggling to find their places in this world like they did when they came into it. Thank you!

  32. Sandra Johnson - October 2, 2020 5:41 am

    Sean, my first grandchild weighed in at a whopping 2lbs. 9 oz.. Her mother almost died. Prospective grandparents and parents look forward to a plump, lovely, cooing, grandbaby. Amberlee resembled none of that. Six weeks in the NICU. Preemies have to learn how to suckle. She had to weigh a whopping 4 pounds before she could go home. None of us had bought any baby supplies. How could we? We had been at the hospital the entire time. When the hospital discharged her, we had to scramble to get supplies. My husband and I came with a bassinet and other supplies. My other son and his wife came with formula and two hundred dollars worth of diapers. Friends came with other things.
    When we arrived at the home of our youngest son, we found the four pound little person who had fought a valiant fight sound asleep on a pillow in a laundry basket!
    Today, the former laundry basket baby is a junior at the University of South Alabama. She is going to be a geologist. Scholarship winner.
    Not bad for a former laundry basket baby.


  33. Tawanah Fagan Bagwell - March 20, 2021 4:45 am

    My family has a little girl at Children’s Hospital at UAB. She has been there her whole life and may get to come home next week at 6 months of age. She has gone through so much. I can’t wait to see what she becomes! Thanks for this story.


Leave a Comment