A Letter to My Niece and Nephew Upon Their Christening

Dear Noah & Emi –

You won’t be old enough to understand any of this any time soon, but one day you will, and if I don’t write it down now it’s likely to be forgotten.

You have a long winding road ahead of you, and until your thirties you’re going to want to speed up the journey. Try not to do that.

You’ve got a pair of parents that absolutely adores you – never forget that. Even when you get mad at them, remember how much you are loved, and everything they have done has been because of that love. But also remember that no one is perfect, especially parents – you have to love them anyway. There is no tried and true manual for the raising of children, and mistakes will be made by all (even perfect Uncles). Be forgiving, and willing to accept others for their foibles. We do not have a hand in choosing family, but you’ve been blessed with a pretty good one.

You have an assortment of Uncles and a very special Aunt, all of whom love you dearly. Remember that we will always be here for you whenever you need us. I didn’t get to see my extended family as often as I would have liked, so don’t ever take that for granted.

Never be anything other than who you are, and never make any apologies for it. You will become the person you are destined to be no matter what. There will be good people, and some bad, to guide you on your way, but in your heart you will know what is right. It will not always be an easy decision, and no one makes the right choice every time. Own up to the mistakes and learn from them. Don’t get bogged down in shame and embarrassment.

You are about as close in age as a brother and sister can get, and that’s going to lead to a few fights. My brother and I were a year and a half apart and we fought like crazy – I can only imagine what being a twin will be like when all you want to do is be alone. But whenever you feel the slightest bit of resentment or anger toward your brother or sister, remember that not many people get to be born with an automatic best friend, and there is no one else on earth who will be able to understand absolutely everything you’re going through or who will have the exact same set of growing experiences and background. That will be a treasure when the rest of the world doesn’t always get you.

Finally, there are some things you should never skimp on: stationary and luggage. Both will reward you for life.

Love, Uncle Al

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