Dear Baby Boy,
Since I never had children, maybe you will shoulder the burden of my advice. I don't claim to be good at this. I just care and I'm captivated by your beauty and your perfection.
You're lucky like I am. You were born into a loving family. Every single person that those impossibly blue eyes struggle to fix in focus adores you. In baby terms, that makes you rich. Really rich. Over time, folks will try to teach you that being rich has something to do with money. Cars. Houses. Prestige.
Hopefully, somebody will put away a copy of this unsolicited dribble and in fifty years you'll run across it and remember that. You love now. In fact, you love perfectly now, right from the factory.
What they call growing up is hard and it's complicated. Things will hurt your feelings. People will hurt your feelings. That's just part of the game. You come from unnaturally kind people. Every one of them will be anxious to show you. Some of us will be dying to tell you tales of the kindness of some of the ones who have gone. Funny stories, too.
By the time you are capable of reading this, the world will be a very different place than it is now. Some things will be the same. Those things will always be the same.
You will crawl and then you'll walk. School will begin to show you that there are other people in your world. After what seems like a long, long time, you will fall in love. This is the very best part. There is no preparation for this. Oh, I talk about it all the time. I write poems and songs about it but I can't come close to explaining it.
Around this same time there will be pressure to "grow up." Don't let testosterone, yours or anyone else's, get in the way. You come from extraordinarily gentle people. Strong, gentle people.
The world will need your kindness and your strength. There will always be living beings that need you. Be generous with your love and your time and your attention. Don't worry, you'll never run out of any of it. You're never wasting time when you're loving.
There was only one time that I ever talked to my own father. I was already grown and it was by telephone. I'll leave you with the line that he used to close our short conversation: "You be a good boy."
With all the love in my heart, your cousin,
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