Dear Gavin,

So, you are finally here. You are just so beautiful that it brings tears to my eyes.

When I held you, a flood of emotions came over me as I thought about the fact that you are so brand new.  Since I am your Aunt and your God Mother, I feel within my rights to give you some advice right off the bat.

Be THANKFUL. You were conceived in, and born into, love. Not everyone is, unfortunately. You ARE.

Be HUMBLE. You are fortunate. You were born to loving parents, with enough money to pay for all of your necessities. You have a large extended family that is in your corner one hundred percent. You have a wonderful home with a lovely nursery and more toys already than you will ever know what to do with. Not everyone is as fortunate as you. It’s a good thing to remember that.

Be LOVING.  Show your emotions. Don’t be afraid to tell people how you feel about them and cry when you need to. Never leave words unspoken. Kiss often, hug endlessly and say “I love you” to someone at least once every day. Some people don’t learn to do this. They are closed off. Emotions are hard for them. I feel sorry for those people. And so should you.

Be COMPASSIONATE.  Remember the golden rule “there but for the grace of God go I”. Gavin, believe me, it is true. When you look at people, you never know what is going on in their lives. You don’t know the heartache that they have had or the pain that they feel. Treat others kindly, help others whenever you are able to. It will bring comfort to others and joy to you.

Be STRONG. Life is not easy. But, it is worth every second. Persevere through the hard stuff. Always remember that no matter how dire things seem, they do get better. They always get better. Another wonderful and true cliché is  “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Always remember this.  There is ALWAYS a reserve of strength underneath our fear. That is God. You just have to dig to find it.

Be FORGIVING.  A life of anger is toxic. People will disappoint you. That is inevitable. That is life. Don’t hold onto the hurt and the pain. Life is too short, Gavin. Too short to waste on negative feelings.  Many people have a hard time with this one. It’s not easy. But, trust me, it is more important than you will ever know.

Be APPRECIATIVE of your health. Of every single second of good health that you are blessed with. You will, unfortunately, understand why sooner than you would ever want to, as you see loved ones struggle with their own health issues. Remember though, that even if your health isn’t perfect, every day that you are alive is a gift. If you are dealt a health issue, whether it is when you are young or an old man, don’t let it define you or keep you down. Deal with it and move on. Life is for living.

And, finally, be YOURSELF. There is only one you and you are fabulous. You are a miracle. And, as Pa Pa says, you were a winner at your conception, when you were first to get to that egg!

I love you, baby.

Aunt Nicole