Wednesday, December 5, 2012

To My Niece Milah, Who Was Just Born

Hello Milah-

Thirty five years ago, I was spending Thanksgiving at my grandparents' house when my dad came in, and told me that I had a sister. Now, with a few days past Thanksgiving, my sister has given birth to you. Welcome home. As your uncle, it has been remarkable to watch your mom become more than just my sister. She is now your mother, and so much more. One of the miracles of living is that we can live long enough to watch the next generations of our family come in, and carry on this line that began way before you, or me.

As you are new to the world, there are a lot of things to tell you about. The planet we live on is a strange place. Always has been, always will be. Millions of people got lost in the little things of everyday life, while bigger issues pass right by them. There is, and was no exact thing as "the good old days." That is just each person's perspective on their own lives, and how they look back on their past. Someday, you might even look back on the next several years of your life as "the good old days." As I said, the world is a strange place, but it has it's possibilities. Make the most of them, and enjoy every day that you can.

What can I tell you about your mother? She is a good person, and is really happy to have you here. When she tells you about our days as kids, she might tell you that we had a lot of good times together. This is true. She might also tell you that I was not the ideal older brother. This is where our memories sometimes differ. Again, there is no concrete thing as the truth, just one's view of it. I might feel the same way if you asked me if your mother was the perfect younger sibling. The truth is, our memories meet somewhere in the middle. But your mom has always had her heart in the right place, and I'd like to think that I did, as well.

Obviously, I have not known your father as long as I've known your mother, but I believe that he shares my sister's hopes and aspirations for you. By the time that I finally meet you, you may have already met my parents, who are now your grandparents. We all did a lot of growing up together. From the home that we shared in upstate New York, living on the banks of Cayuga Lake, to that first home we lived in here in North Carolina. It was a long journey from there to here, yet rewarding. Now, my parents are ready to take care of you the same way that they raised myself and your mother. Give them your attention, when time allows. They've been waiting for you for a long time, and they will be good to you.

As I think about you, I remember all of your relatives that you did not get the chance to meet. Great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents, great uncles, aunts and more. You are descended from hard workers, mailmen, engineers, priests, travelers and characters such as myself. Someday, I want to tell you about them all. This includes your grandmother's parents, who also took time to raise me when I was young. I did, and still love them as much as I love you. And that's a lot. They may not be here to welcome you, but they are glad to have you here, just the same.

There is so much for you to learn, and experience. That it is okay to dream, whether you are an adult or child. That some dreams are worth fighting for, while others will change and adapt with you. That it is possible to grow up, and not completely grow old. That it is okay to care about what you do, and the people around you.  And to not be afraid to be yourself. As I said before, the world is a strange place. It is not always hostile to the things I just mentioned, but it can be indifferent. And that can sometimes be the toughest thing of all. But always remember you who are, and who you came from. Your dreams will always be worth fighting for, as we fought for our own.

That being said, there is time to discover these things. You will get there. Until then, enjoy your time in this new place. Look around, and smile at it. And sleep as much as you can. You will appreciate that more as you get older, as will your parents. There is so much to share with you, and I look forward to doing that soon. Until then, rest well, and welcome home.

Sincerely, your uncle,
-Daniel Coston
December 5, 2012

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