A couple of days ago, a new little boy came into this world — his name is Benjamin.
And he is you.
I’m not going to lie — there are two ways to look at this.
In the big picture, it’s a scary proposition — after all, just look at the world you have been born into. There is unspeakable violence, both local and world-wide. The education system which you will be entering in five years time is failing children on a daily basis and sending our country further backwards in the big picture of things. And, the first president you might remember could be President Trump. If that’s not enough to send shivers up your spine, then I don’t know what is.
But just look at the smaller picture — where it all starts — the family you are being born into. Considering that then I know, in my heart, you’re going to be alright.
I’ve known your mother, Nicole, since she was almost a baby herself. Somehow she got older, and she grew up into a remarkable, hard-working young woman. You will grow up to admire her, trust me.
There will be times she will make you cry and make you mad, times when you’ll think that you hate her, but you never will. Trust me. Let her guide you and you’ll be OK.
You’ll soon find out that your family’s foundation is built upon and held together by love. Unconditional love.
Benjamin, you’re going to have a fantastic grandmother, the best aunt imaginable, and an uncle and godfather whose quest for adventure is going to help you test the waters of the unknown in a safe yet fun environment. Enjoy it. Embrace it.
I can’t wait to watch you grow up from afar — just as I watched you (and waited for you .. and waited … and waited) to come into this world.
Back after the turn of the century, I lived with your family for a short time when I needed a place to stay, so I’ve seen them up close and can make such judgements about your future with a knowledge few others have.
I know your mom is going to be a great mother and because I recall her open-mindedness about how she chose her friends and those she let her close to her. She does not judge people by their covers, but gets to know their heart and judges them as such.
I’m pretty sure she learned that from her family and that’s why I’m pretty sure you’re going to grow up the same way. It means you’re going to meet some pretty remarkable people in the days, months and years ahead, so embrace what you can out of all them.
Another trait I admire a lot about your mom is she’s not afraid to ask for help when something might be overwhelming.
I remember one night she came seeking counsel about a serious matter she could have tackled herself. But instead of taking the scary route, alone, she sought guidance and direction, and I’m sure she’ll do the same as a mother.
The next year is going to be scary and at times overwhelming, but you’re mom is really strong and both she and you will survive all those early morning feedings, all those diaper changes, all the crying. When she sees you smile for the first time, she will melt — and you will have won her over for life. Truth be told, I’m pretty sure you already have.
She was so excited in the months leading up to you joining us. She couldn’t wait to meet you, to hold you, to start this new journey of her life with you.
And when you become that little person that all newborns become, she’ll thrive in that element, too. I just know it.
So, little Benjamin, welcome to this big scary world where the future is yours for the taking.
Just listen to your mother, little boy, because she’s been there and done that and she’ll lead you down the right path. And, eat all the string cheese she is willing to feed you. (That’s a private joke you can ask her about when you’re older).
Enjoy how much your grandmother spoils you. If you have a problem you can’t take to your mom, your Aunt Stephanie will be the perfect sounding board. And when you hang out with Uncle Dan, take band aids. Because you’re going to have a blast.
Someday, somewhere down the line, I hope I get to meet you face to face. Shake your little hand and welcome you to the world in person.
Until then, my words will have to suffice.