People enter and exit this world at breakneck speed. Deaths, births, repeat. But, when it happens to you…in your family…life seems to slow down. You remember. You watch. And yesterday, another baby was added to our clan.

I left home at 17. Like, really left home for good. I remember the day in my senior year when my dad stood in the bar, and said “where are you going to college?” I thought …college? You mean I’m leaving? Long story short, I couldn’t get into USC with a 2.5 GPA, so off to Fresno State I went. My sisters both left for a time, but they came back. I never did.

So, this is from the great aunt that you won’t get to meet for awhile. And I won’t get to see you for a bit. Except through 2 dimensional photos, which for me are SO not good when all I want to do is smell your baby’s head, watch you grasp my finger, look into your wide open eyes.

So. Jack.

There comes a time in every rightly constructed boy’s life when he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure. ~Mark Twain

Dig for treasure. Get dirty. Join the Cub Scouts. Build rocket ships in your back yard and make a mess. Draw on walls and fall down. A lot. Make your parents crazy by bringing things home in your pockets. Treasures.

Country music is three chords and the truth. ~Harlan Howard

This is very important. If you want to know about our country, you simply must own some Merle Haggard. Don’t waste your time on Johnny Cash. Everyone owns some Cash, and it’s good stuff. But, Merle. The man’s voice is as smooth as butter, and he can put out a melody you can whistle. Please, learn how to whistle.

…after forty days without a fish the boy’s parents had told him that the old man was now definitely and finally salao, which is the worst form of unlucky. ~Ernest Hemingway The Old Man And The Sea

Don’t believe what people say about anyone else. One person’s unlucky is another person’s hope. If there is nothing else I can give you, it’s the wish that one day you will read this Hemingway classic. I may be the only one in the world who has embraced this as their favorite. I cry every time Santiago comes into shore. From his defeat, comes triumph…a notion that has come true in my life. It’s a short book. It will never be on a required reading list in High School. Read it anyway.

Love is like a roller coaster; once you have completed the ride, you want to go again. ~Unknown

You’re gonna love a million times. Know that every time something ends, something else has room to begin. Keep trying, even if it is hard. Because, love. At the end of the day, it’s all you’ve got. Have an open heart. Be willing to be seen.

God always takes the simplest way. ~Albert Einstein

God is not in the fancy. You may not find him right away. But trust me. He’s there. Go on a quest. Find the God in the flower, the song, the smile. Trust that you have a purpose. Know that when you were born, the heavens opened up and said, “okay Jack. Let’s see what you’ve got.”

My advice is simple. Own a Bible and a Dictionary. Learn how to write a decent bibliography. Be available. Whenever you get an invitation, always go, no matter what the event. Write your math problems with a pencil. Don’t rely on a calculator. Know the continents. If you want extra credit, please don’t ask your teachers two weeks before the end of the semester. Take up some kind of musical instrument, if only for a little while. Accept people for who they are, and who they are not. Love freely and without restriction.

There is a blank page out in front of you, and I can’t wait to see what you will write. Stock up with lots of paper, pencils, erasers. Live this life well.

Welcome, Jack.

3 thoughts on “on the day you were born

  1. Lovely. Just lovely. And a warm welcome to the world for Jack. With any luck or grace, he’ll encounter lots of people like you.

  2. This is awesome, what an amazing welcome to the world. And fabulous advice – stole your love quote. So true!!

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