>Dearest Jude,

18 Nov

>Dearest Jude,

I love you more than you could ever know. I will try my hardest in life to show you how much. Not only do your Dad and I love you, but there are so many other amazing people in this world that love you too, so always know that you are blessed. While still so tiny, you are already quite a character. I cannot wait to see how you change & grow. I look forward to celebrating the person you will become.

Now, here is some advice from your Mama. I must preface with the fact that I am nothing close to perfect. If you are smart enough to read, you have already figured that out. Still, I thought I would share what my life has shown me so far.

• Above all, be honest, especially with your self and those you love most.
• Be giving whenever possible.
• Do not be afraid to seek help when necessary.
• Surround yourself with people whose pros outweigh their cons.
• Take time every day to do something you love.
• Use your manners.
• Help old ladies carry their groceries.
• When choosing a career, seek whatever you want, even if it seems impossible. If it is impossible, you can move on knowing you were true to yourself.
• When choosing a partner, pick someone who improves you. If it feels like it isn’t right, its not.
• Trust your instincts.
• If life was easy, we would all be rich.
• Sit with the kid in the cafeteria that is eating alone.
• Listen to your Dad. If you choose to live your life with half the integrity and character he has, you will be a great man.
• Don’t take your self too seriously, especially in Jr. High & High School.
• If you choose to get a tattoo, get the first one somewhere you can hide it. For instance, not across your chest.
• Don’t create drama; life will give you more than enough on its own.
• Clean up after yourself.
• Explore music.
• You don’t have to attend every fight you are invited to.
• Be genuine in your complements and gentle with your criticisms.
• Open the door for others.
• Never be afraid to say “I don’t know”.
• Listen to your Mother, unless I am wrong, in which case listen to your Father.
• Be confident enough in your own religious and political beliefs that you don’t feel the need to justify them. The best way to show what you believe is to live your life accordingly.
• You will make mistakes. If you are mature, you will learn from them, apologize appropriately and push forward.
• No one can meet your needs unless you make them known.
• Hurting someone to get what you want is never a success.
• Listen to old peoples stories.
• Tell the people you love, that you love them everyday.
• Let your Dad beat you at sports every once and a while.
• Don’t be stingy when you tip.
• Be gracious with others mistakes. Often meaning pretending you didn’t notice them, like I do with your Father when he is driving.
• Sleep in when you can.
• Hinting and passive behavior is for people who do not have enough confidence in the belief that they deserve what they want. Ask straight questions and give straight answers.
• Try new things whenever possible.
• If you say you are going to do something, do it.
• Laugh so hard your stomach hurts.
• Buy from little kids lemonade stands.
• Do not steal.
• Not everyone likes you (or me either), but that’s okay. No one’s opinion of you matters more than your own.
• Bring your wife flowers when you have nothing to apologize for.
• Roll in the snow.
• Don’t judge anyone based on their race, religion or sexual orientation.
• Read.
• Get the best education you can.
• Be on time.
• People seldom change. If you can’t accept them as they are, spare yourself the hurt and move on.
• Travel.
• Be a good friend. This usually means listening more than talking.
• Sleep on the beach at least once in your life.
• Listen to Zao (or at least pretend to like them), it will make you Dad and a few of your Uncles happy.
• Complement strangers.
• Live in today.

Please always remember we love you. I know despite all my best efforts, at some point in life you will suffer- experience pain and maybe even a broken heart or two. We will stand by your side through it all. Shoulder to shoulder if you let us. We will love and encourage you. The earth is full of many great things, but to me none of them come close to you.

With utmost admiration and unending affection,

Mama

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