To My Nephew
In less than four months, I will be holding you against my chest — curiously watching you unfold, observe, and absorb everything you see. I don’t know you, but I love you already. Every day, your image becomes more refined. Your mom’s beautiful golden skin, your dad’s curly locks and the tenacity of your grandparents. I see the stories we will share as we grow old together: me bringing you to museums and making things with our hands. You learning the power you’ll yield from a single smile.
We’re less than a month away from a new year. Here is a glimpse into our lives today:
One — Friends are plotting on how they will spend 2018 while your uncle and I reminisce about 2007 and how quickly time has come and gone.
Two — Trump is still president.
Three — Your parents play Mozart and Coltrane every night to ease you into slumber.
Four — Hollywood is finally acknowledging the sexist, complacent monster it has bred.
Five — There are threads and threads of text messages filled with bids on what we’ll title you.
Six — One Bitcoin is valued at almost $16,000.00.
Seven — Your parents are working tirelessly to finish building the home you will be raised in while juggling full-time jobs.
Eight — Gun control is (still) a problem
Nine — Yesterday, I spent an hour in a baby’s clothing store just admiring.
Ten — You can learn almost anything on the internet.
You will be fragile. We all are. Some of these pains we will succeed in warding off and healing for you. Most, you will conquer on your own. As I look back over the challenges, failures and successes I’ve weathered through this past decade, here are a few aphorisms I’ve picked up. I hope they will bring you solace.
XVII — Lean In. Ask questions.
XVIII— Fuck your expectations.
XIX— You are your best/worst critic.
XX— Stop counting. No one (else) cares.
XXI— Unplug. Detox. Exhale. Repeat.
XXII — Stop chasing your “dreams” and “passion.” Follow your curiosity.
XXIII — Be kind to yourself.
XXIV — One thing at a time.
XXV — Money will not keep you happy.
XXVI— Dating = luck + timing + communication
XXVII— I am enough.
Will you like me? Will you stress your parents out as much as we did? Will you have siblings? Will you love New York like us? What will keep you up at night? What will inspire you? Whom will you love?
I am looking forward to playing in the sandbox of uncertainty together. See you soon.
Thank you for staying. If you’ve enjoyed this letter and would be interested in collaborating on a digital project around the stories we tell ourselves and others, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.