letter to my nephew

T,
Hey bubba. I miss you. Who am I kidding, I always miss you! Today isn’t your birthday and it’s not Christmas. There is no special reason I find myself writing you this letter other than the fact that I have some things I want to tell you. There are a few things I want you to know and remember.

I want you to know about the day you were born. How I rushed and rushed and even walked in quite a bit of snow as soon as I heard you were coming. I want you to know that the day you came home from the hospital was my birthday and you were the best birthday present I have ever received. It was snowing both of those days. Loads and loads of snow. A striking white covering everything. White as wool. A new beginning. A clean slate. I could feel something inside of me saying this was the start of something beautiful. And, T, it has been so beautiful. You bring joy and laughter and smiles wherever you go. Thanks for bringing all those things to me. I love you for it.

I want you to know about the many nights we sat, you and me, in the dark coolness of your room rocking back and forth, back and forth, just talking and singing and praying you would sleep. Well, mostly I was praying you would sleep. I think you enjoyed our time together and figured you could sleep later. And mostly, I was the one singing…you just made all those sweet little noises babies make. And really, you didn’t talk to me, you just listened and patted my mouth every once in awhile. I sang every song I knew. Sometimes two and three times. And, bubba, thanks for not bringing up how horrible I sounded. Or how much I didn’t know about feeding a bottle to a baby or changing explosive diapers. Thanks for being patient with me.

I want you to remember the time you got sick. I know you’ve seen the scar on your little belly and you’ve heard the stories about that time but you don’t remember. We were so scared and confused. We took you to the hospital and the doctors figured it out and fixed what was wrong in your tummy so fast. I am grateful to them for that. And plus, you’ve now got that awesome scar. You were so brave. You always have been brave. Except when it comes to bugs. I remember you would squeal like a little girl every time a lady bug would land near you or an ant would walk by. “BUG BUG BUG!!!” – and you would run off. It was so funny, bubba. Do you remember?

I want you to remember when you first started drawing and writing. “Asson, bus. Asson, face” I loved that you couldn’t say my name. I loved hearing the many variations you called me. “Awison, bus!” You wanted me to draw a bus. So when I drew a bus, and a pretty stinking good one, I was so confused when you said “no, no, no…BUS!” and proceeded to show me. Three simple circles. Thats all you wanted. Oddly enough, it was very similar to your version of “face”. And bubba, I loved it.

I want you to remember when I moved to Dallas. I know, I hated leaving you. If anything could have kept me there, it would have been you. Sometimes I feel like I should have stayed, but I couldn’t, bubba, and this has been so good for me. Don’t get me wrong, I miss you like crazy. I think of you more often than not and pray for you daily. Hourly, even. It would probably get on your nerves how much I pray for you. Do you remember the time you stole Pop David’s phone and called me from under the kitchen table? You tried to convince me to come to dinner. You told me it was only 4 o’clock and I was only 2 hours away. I could make it. I love your convincing arguments.

I want you to remember that you have changed my life. You have made me want to be better and do better and love better. Don’t tell anyone, but you are my favorite person. I want you to remember the conversation we had several years ago where you told me you wanted to go to college and then play pro ball. (You promised me you’d get me free tickets to see you play, so don’t forget) But even if you didn’t, T, I’d be there. I’d pay full price and I’d probably buy all my friends tickets too. Just so we could sit in the stands and cheer you on. I would make everyone scream as loud as they can. Until then, I am cheering you on right now. I am in your corner. I am on your team. One of your biggest fans. Always.

You can do whatever you want, bubba. Play ball, go to college, date a nice girl, get married, have an awesome house…you can do ALL of those things!! But, T, listen. You have to keep loving well. You have such a tender and sweet heart. Please, don’t lose that. Keep making friends with the kids that no one else wants to be friends with. Sit with someone at lunch who doesn’t have anyone else sitting with them. Play ball with that little boy who isn’t as good as everyone else. You won’t be the best at everything. Sometimes you’ll fall. Sometimes you’ll strike out. Sometimes you won’t make the cut. And that’s ok. Because no matter what, NO MATTER WHAT, I will ALWAYS be in the stands cheering you on. I will be so dorky and goofy and embarrassing holding signs of your name and wearing buttons covered with your face. I will scream until I lose my voice. I will clap until my hands burn. Why? Because I believe in you. I believe in the story you are telling.

So, T.P.W., know that I love you more than I ever thought I could love someone. You have brought out the best in me. You are a gift in my life and I love laughing and giggling with you. I love playing basketball and swimming with you. I love when you tell me all kinds of wrestling statistics. I love when you make those goofy faces. I love you not based on your accomplishments. I love you for who you ARE. So just be you, bubba. Be brave. Be bold. Love deeply and dream big. You are worth it. And I am for you.

In your corner and cheering you on,
Aunt Ali

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