Dear Annie Parsons


Dear Annie,

Last night, your mom sent me the sweetest email. She told me that you are 13, and found my blog when you Googled your own name. I think it’s so cool that you have continued to read my posts, and that from hundreds of miles away, we are connected. It’s like I have a friend that I never knew about. If my friends Paul Zimmerman-Clayton or Elliott Eicheldinger were to Google their names, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t find blog friends. So you and I are lucky.

First off, you have the greatest name. My parents thought about naming me Molly, but Molly Parsons sounded too much like Dolly Parton, so they went with Annie. My real name is Anne, but I’ve never been an “Anne.” In fact, I’ve decided that if I ever get married, I’m going to drop my middle name and officially change my name to Annie Parsons [Something] – that way, I can forever be called “Annie P” or “AP,” two very frequent nicknames that I’ve grown fond of.

And if I never get married, I might do it anyway: legally change my first name to “Annie.” And then maybe add some awesome name to the end, like Annie Parsons Fox or something. Or maybe I’ll just change my name to Octavia?

So, not knowing anything about you aside from the fact that you’re named Annie Parsons and you’re 13 and you read my blog, I’m wondering what it is that I could say to you — or to any other 13-year old who might happen across this post. I don’t claim to know much about this world or this life, but if I could go back and talk to myself at 13, this is what I would say.

Learn to use chopsticks. Somewhere, someday, you’ll be glad that you know how.

Read a lot of books. Books are amazing, and there are way too many good ones to ever read them all. I recommend A Little Princess and The Secret Garden and A Wrinkle In Time.

People will tell you that there’s no such thing as magic, but they’re wrong. Keep your eyes peeled for beauty. Don’t let anyone steal your imagination.

Sometimes it can be hard to be nice to the people that we love the most, but be nice to your family. Love them. If you have siblings, they can be your best friends. So can your mom. So can your dad. I didn’t realize this until after I moved away from home at 18, but I wish I had learned it sooner.

Whatever it is that you love — whether it’s piano or art or softball or ballet or whatever — keep doing it. Practice a lot. You have this window of time to learn and grow and improve, and you’ll be so thankful someday that you took the time to stretch yourself.

Try not to gossip. It might not win you popularity points, but it will win you friendship points, which are so much better.

It’s fine if you haven’t kissed a boy yet. It’s TOTALLY fine. I didn’t know that at 13 — and as I watched my friends get kissed, one by one, I started to feel like I was an ugly snail, the one that no one ever wanted. And trust me, it took me a long time to get kissed. Like, a lot more years past age 13. But then it happened, and it was great, and it didn’t matter how old I was.

And finally, things totally get better. I don’t know, Annie — you might be the most popular girl in your class, and feel confident and beautiful and completely awesome. But at 13, I sure didn’t. I felt awkward and clumsy and never knew what to say or how to be “cool.” I wanted people to like me (and yeah, of course I still do). But once I got to college, I realized that most people were starting to discover that they’d much rather hang out with those who are interesting, and kind, and uniquely themselves.

So if you’re feeling super lame today, don’t. Just keep being exactly who you are. It’s a good thing — I know it.



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  1. Christina on November 25, 2008 at 9:17 AM

    This is the sweetest thing ever. And I knew you when you were 13, you were one of my very best friends and you were awesome. Still are.

  2. giving up slowly on November 25, 2008 at 9:30 AM

    I liked this letter a lot, Annie. I think we’ve all learned a lot of things about life, no matter how old we are and I think a lot of what you said applies to all of us. Thanks!

  3. Shannon on November 25, 2008 at 9:31 AM

    This is awesome! I’m also a fan of promoting chopsticks at an early age. I WISH I could have had an Annie to give me advice when I was 13. Lucky little Annie. =)

  4. duane on November 25, 2008 at 9:33 AM


  5. bec on November 25, 2008 at 9:34 AM

    duane: fact – it means ‘top of an acorn’.

  6. marisa on November 25, 2008 at 9:48 AM

    beautiful, annie…simply beautiful. we would have been awkwardly awesome bff’s at 13, i know it.

  7. duane on November 25, 2008 at 9:51 AM

    so you know both an Elliot Eicheldinger AND an Eli Eichelberger. thats amazing.

  8. Skiehl on November 25, 2008 at 10:15 AM

    haha, A Wrinkle In Time. I recommended that book to someone once… it didnt go over so well. Maybe its an acquired taste.

  9. Christina on November 25, 2008 at 11:20 AM

    Great letter!
    My parents did not give me a middle name with the express intention that I would use my last name as my middle name, when I married. I always thought that was a silly reason for not giving a child a middle name. So far, I haven’t married so their logic has not been called upon. If I never marry, I will never have a middle name….

  10. MB on November 25, 2008 at 12:06 PM

    Love it!

  11. annie on November 25, 2008 at 12:20 PM

    Wow, Annie.

    I know this letter was not to me. I’m not a Parsons. I’m a Nelson.

    But I feel so much closer to you anyway! We really have a TON in common. You’re a way better writer, though.

  12. Case and Los on November 25, 2008 at 2:09 PM

    I love this. I got to pick my own middle name, when I was a teen. But I was cursed with 2 last names, and then Los had 2 too, so it was like do you have 4? Or annihilate 3 and go with the most vanilla 1? I digress. Great letter. I love 13 year olds. p.s. Annnie if you read this, my husband is the first person I really kissed, and I don’t regret waiting ONE BIT!

  13. Anonymous on November 25, 2008 at 3:15 PM

    Oh, wow, I feel famous being mentioned on your blog! :) Thank you so much for this wonderful letter, Annie (feels so strange saying that). It’s really made my day.

    I haven’t read A Wrinkle in Time yet, but I have read A Little Princess and The Secret Garden, and really enjoyed them. Fun to see what sort of books you read. :D

    About chopsticks… I’ve found myself hopeless at this talent, but I’ll try, try again. :) You have not conquered me yet, Chinese food! :P

    Again, thank you, thank you, thank you SO much! I feel really honored. I can’t wait until we come to Nashville this coming spring! Really looking forward to it.

    ~Little Annie

    P.S. Thanks for the advice on the subject of guys. :P I admit, I have not kissed a guy before, but your story, Case and Los, sounds really nice. :D I’ll really take that to heart.

    Thanks again! -Little AP

  14. Annie Parsons on November 25, 2008 at 3:26 PM

    AAAAGHH!!! You guys!! Don’t you love Little AP??!?!

    Hug to you, girl. :)

  15. Daddypundit on November 25, 2008 at 3:39 PM

    Hello Annie from little Annie’s Dad.

    Thanks for taking the time to write your letter to her. It was very sweet of you to do that. It completely made her day.

    We look forward to meeting you next time we’re in Nashville. In the meantime, please keep in touch.

    Tom Parsons a.k.a. Daddypundit

  16. Crystal on November 25, 2008 at 7:35 PM

    Little AP,
    I didn’t kiss a boy until I was 20 1/2 years old…and I lived to tell about it!
    Pei-wei has kids helper chop-sticks so you can start to learn :)

    Big AP,
    I wish I would have known you when I was 13!

  17. Anonymous on November 25, 2008 at 7:36 PM

    I am smiling from ear to ear! Although my real name is Anastasia, I’ve gone by Annie forever! Thank you, “older” Annie, for giving advice that all 13-year-olds should hear. To “Little” Annie, I’m sending you lots of love from Olathe, Kansas and feeling very proud of you… and I don’t even know you! :) Your parents have done a great job with you! Give them a hug from another distant Annie, ok? :)

    Annie Watson

  18. Tad on November 26, 2008 at 2:08 AM

    Little AP,
    For what it’s worth, boys feel just as awkward about kissing as girls do. They just have a rather different way of dealing with it.
    And amen to big AP’s words about brothers and sisters. I didn’t know what I had in my little brother until we were in college, and now we are best friends. I wish I had known how awesome it is earlier. I would have been a much better person.

  19. Anonymous on November 26, 2008 at 11:37 AM

    P.P.S. My mom asked me to give you a few ‘fun facts’ about myself, so you don’t have to shoot in the dark about me. :P So… here goes.

    I’m a Christian, first and foremost. I’m homeschooled, but not the jumper kind. I’m more like the… pajama kind. :P I’m also a huge fan of the Chronicles of Narnia, and (though my actual bedroom is decorated Breakfast at Tiffany’s style) I’ve filled my “wardrobe” with Lewis junk. :) I can’t say I’m as partial to cheese and wine as you are (That age limit thing… pfft.), but I do know how to make bread out of beer. It’s actually really good. :)

  20. Julianne on November 26, 2008 at 3:57 PM

    Okay, this is great! I laughed out loud when I read little Annie’s comment “not the jumper kind,” because I think Annie and I have used that exact language before.
    Annie Parsons, (both of you, I guess), you rock! And, I think I was much older than you (older AP) when I had my first kiss–and it was totally worth the wait.

  21. Paul on November 27, 2008 at 7:15 AM

    Dear Little Annie and Daddypundit,

    It is a marvel to me, and a gift from God, to be introduced by the wonders of blogging to the two of you. I am the other Annie’s Dad, and to have a glimpse into your lives is very dear, knowing that my oldest daughter has become somehow a connector of people all over the world. And of all the things my Annie has said to you, Little Annie, the one that I most agree with is. . . you are adorable.

    Annie’s Daddy – Paul

  22. JJ Kissinger on November 29, 2008 at 11:31 PM

    I am in love with everything about this exchange.

  23. Sarah Kate on November 30, 2008 at 10:37 PM

    This is all so very, very beautiful. I love it AND Annie Parsons – both of you.

  24. Lisa on December 3, 2008 at 10:09 AM

    AP and lilAP –
    This is LH. Thanks for bringing joy to my day…I really needed it. AND I need to find those pictures of me from my own homeschooling days and burn them. I happened to be wearing a matching pink jumper with my other homeschooled best friend…with our names embroidered on the front. Don’t worry, I’m much cooler in life now.

  25. […] Remember Little Annie Parsons? […]

  26. Barb on September 20, 2010 at 9:53 PM

    Annie, I found you through Daddypundit’s blog that I read and enjoy. Just had to check out his ‘other daughter’s’ blog! So glad I did and I feel like I know you. And Little AP sounds great as well. You have given her some great advice for a 13 year old.

    Too many young people feel like they are being left behind if they haven’t experienced life. I say, “wait, it’s coming – be yourself and live”. Most teenagers rush into things too adult for them and get hurt.

    I’m much older than any of you – been married 46 years to a wonderful man! When the right man comes along, life is wonderful. I tell my granddaughter, who is 20, not to rush into anything until she is sure that is the man for LIFE!

    By the way, Annie, you have a beautiful voice. God has really blessed you!

  27. […] Virginia googled her own name — which happened to be Annie Parsons — and landed on this site. A blog post later, she was cemented in Hootenannie lore as “Little Annie Parsons” — my very own Muppet […]

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