On your Grandmother

On your Grandmother

There will be a lot of people who will be a part of your life. Your mother and I will probably be the most important, at least until you meet a girl, fall in love, and make a little blog like this one of your own. But your GM Whitt will be one of the most important people in your life, because she has been one of the most important people in my life.

You are lucky enough to have many grandmas and grandpas, and all of them will love you like crazy from now until forever. And I will talk about all of them at some point so you know where you came from and understand all the people who love you and who will shape your life.

But this is about your GM Whitt, and it’s no coincidence that this is being posted on her birthday. She is one of the most incredible people I’ve ever met. She is one of six children, and had to take on a lot of responsibilities helping to raise her brothers and sisters when she was just a kid herself. She has always wanted the best for herself and for her family, and you are so lucky that she will want the best for you, and she will show you how to get the best out of yourself.

You won’t meet anyone as committed as your GM Whitt. When I was younger, she sat through double-header baseball games, sometimes with your uncle Tyler and/or Aunt Paige when they were babies just so she could watch me play. She was able to move your uncle Jordan and I to Florida and get us acclimated to a new state and new school and new friends, all while going to school for he PA degree. She was bettering our lives by taking on so much, and she did it while still making sure we were having fun and having a childhood.

Your GM Whitt is super funny, too. I think she learned how to be funny from me, aka her favorite child. I think that means that since I am her favorite child, and you are my favorite child, the transitive property says you are the favorite grandchild (sorry McKinley and Cora!). She has a great sense of humor and, no pun intended, has more wit than anyone else. She can be sarcastic and caring at the same time, and she knows how to make everybody feel included, loved, and welcome wherever she goes.

Everyone’s age changes on their birthday, but your GM Whitt changes age differently than most. Last year she was 37, and this year she’s 43. It’s kind of a “wake up and see how old you feel” kind of thing for her most years, but she always looks years younger than whatever age she thinks she is every year.

I hesitate to say this, but your GM Whitt will give you anything you want. If you tell her you want to see the Pacific Ocean, she will book the two of you a trip in a week to fly out and book a hotel right on the water so you would wake up and it would be the first thing you saw. She writes letters to you and your cousins every week and mails them to you because she wants you to feel loved at all times. I hope that the two of you develop a special relationship and you let her take you on all kinds of exciting adventures like she did with me when I was young. She’s even taking you to England this fall for your first big adventure!

So be sure to tell your GM Whitt that you love her as often as you have the chance. Draw her a picture and pick her flowers and tell her that she’s pretty whenever you can. Find something that is special to the two of you. Make as many memories as you can with her, because those will be the best memories. Snuggle on her and sing to her and make her feel as special as she is whenever you can, because she will do all those things for you, plus so much more.

02-27-18

 

On Life

Hey Little Man…

Life is a funny thing in so many ways. You have barely started yours, and yet you’ve changed mine and your mother’s in so many ways. You should have seen your home before we found out you were coming. I can only imagine how much more you’ll change our lives now that you’re here.

Life flies by when you’re looking back at it, and it stands still when you look ahead. When you’re older, ask you mom about how quickly the last week of her pregnancy felt with you. The important thing is that you enjoy it, laugh through it, try as many things as you can, and find the things that make you happy.

Fall in love with the things you like. Be the best at them. Know more than the next kid about it and measure yourself only against yourself. What might exhaust you early on will pay off exponentially down the road.

The best thing I have done with my life has been to enjoy as much of it as I could. There have been things that caused me stress, but I always tried to see the bigger picture. It’s my way of turning a negative into a positive. People like the guy who isn’t afraid to be himself, and I hope that you are always comfortable enough with who you are that you can be yourself at all times. Enjoy who you are and what you do, and you will live your best life.

Take an active role in your life. I think if I would have heard this when I was younger, I would have shrugged it off, but the older I get the more I wish I would have learned this sooner. What it means is that you shouldn’t just let life happen. When I was younger, all I wanted to do was play baseball. I was good at it too, but I never worked harder than I needed to. I didn’t try to get better, I just used what talent I had and hoped that it would lead to something. Spoiler alert: it didn’t. 

Life is about connection. Connection within yourself is the most important, but connection with others — friends, family — is also a key part of life. We are entering an age (and I’m sure by the time you read this there will already have been something else) where we are in constant connection with strangers from all over the world through the web. Be careful and for god’s sake be safe, but don’t be afraid to connect with people and show them who you are. Make someone’s day by listening, learning, and teaching them what you’ve learned along your journey.

I cannot wait to get to know you and share the next chapter of my life with you and your mother. I cannot wait to learn from you and teach you things, or to show you the things I love and force you to be a Lions fan with me.

2-19-18

The Story of You

The Story of You

I am sitting in the delivery room with your mother and it’s 12:35 a.m. on February 4, 2018. She is in so much pain and I’m watching her thinking, “I would do anything to make her pain go away.” We still have a long way to go, but all the nervous feelings I had about you coming are gone, and all that’s left is excitement for you, and guilt/pity for your mom.

It’s 12:54 a.m. She’s sleeping now. She got an IV of something that should control her pain a little and let her sleep. I wish I could bottle this night up and show it to you when you’re older and acting out. If I tell you to do something and you don’t do it, we’ll handle that. But if your mom tells you do something, after tonight…. well, I’m on her side.

The nurses are telling us that you are one of the most active babies they’ve seen come through. I really hope that doesn’t mean you are going to be a wild child when we bring you home and keep us up all night. I guess as long as you’re healthy, I will take some abuse when it comes to letting us sleep.

It’s funny, but all I want right now are 1.) for your mom to make it through this and 2.) for you to be healthy and have functioning lungs and a beating heart, ten fingers and toes, and all that jazz. When we first got pregnant, we worried about whether you’d be a cute baby and whether we’d be able to tell if you were or you weren’t. We were afraid we’d be the parents who were blinded by the fact that you were ours, and couldn’t tell that you were an ugly baby (they do exist!). Now, all I care about is that you come out breathing, and that we figure out enough to keep you breathing when we take you home.

Your grandparents and family all want to meet you. The Whitts are all out to dinner right now and sending your mother and I video of them celebrating. The Rauchs are at home and sending their love — your grandma (step-monster as she likes to say to me) sends her love, hugs, kisses, prayers, and just about everything else she has in her to you, and your grandpa is so excited to have a grandson. The Butlers are all spread out — you’ll get to know that about them — but want to meet you more than anyone I know. Your mom and your grandma were talking to each other when she was hooked up to IV’s and I could see the emotion welling up in your mother. They are flying in to town tomorrow to meet you, and don’t be surprised if your grandma never wants to let you go. Your grandpa Jim will have a lot to teach you — he is one of the most honest people I’ve ever met (sometimes to a fault), but he is among the most important people I’ve ever known.

What I love is that everyone has been writing to us all night asking about you, your mom, and how everything is going. You will be loved by more people in your life than you will ever realize, and I hope that you will give it back to them however you can.

Now it’s 9:15 p.m. You are lying on your mother watching the Super Bowl with us. There was so much that happened today that we can get into some day, but you came at 10:48 a.m., very suddenly. You got to meet your Grandma and Grandpa Whitt, Uncle Jordan and Tyler, and Aunt Georgia and Paige. You got to talk to Grandma and Grandpa Butler. You’ll probably call them something different when you grow up, and I will be excited to learn what that is.

You were nice enough to sleep through most of the day, and have absolutely stolen our heart. When we first saw you, your mother and I both cried. Since then, you’ve been nothing short of amazing and are setting the bar pretty high for what is yet to come.

The story of you starts with the story of us — me and your mother, and all the wonderful people in your life who will love you like there are no limits. The story of you changed the story of us, and I’m excited to share the new story of us with you as you grow.

2-4-18

The First Letter to my Son

I remember being in high school and having notebooks full of poetry. One of the poems I wrote was titled “To my Son,” and for the life of me, I can’t remember what it said. The point is, I think I’ve always known I was going to have a son. I think there are a lot of things I feel like I am supposed to teach you and make up for some of the things I missed out on growing up. I know we will have a lot of time to talk about anything and everything as you grow up, but there are a few things I want you to know before you arrive.

You have a lot to live up to. Your mother is an amazing person who will love you more than you will ever understand. Her love will test you, but that is something that will only make you the best version of yourself. She will expect great things from you, as will I, and she will teach you how to get the most out of yourself. She is many other things that I’m sure will come up later, but for now, just know that you have to be nice to her because she loves you more than anyone in the world.

Selfishly, I want you to be a lot like me. I want you to like the things that I like, and think the way that I think (your mother would probably disagree, but you’ll find that to be the case sometimes). I am probably going to try to teach you things that you already know, or don’t think are very important. But if there are three things I can convince you are important so that you can be the best version of yourself that you can be, it is to be confident, considerate, and reliable.

Be confident with girls, sports, school, business, friendships, and hobbies. Do not let doubt or fear keep you from trying new things and allow yourself to fail if it means that you will try again. Confidence will take you places that you want to go, and will open doors that might not otherwise be open.

But also be considerate. Always consider the angles, whether that is someone else’s feelings, or another way to solve a problem. Being considerate means thinking through things and determining the best way to do something. Consider others when you can and make someone else smile.

Finally, be reliable. Be reliable to yourself and to others, especially your family and friends. When you say you will do something, make sure you do it. Being reliable also means being honest, which is something that is earned, not given. It’s a powerful thing when you can say something and see it through; when someone can ask you something and have confidence that if you say you will, then you will.

The last, and most important, thing you have to do in life is to do whatever it is that makes you happy (it’s our unofficial family motto). Do not let anyone else let you think that what makes you happy isn’t important. You will be tested often on this, but if you are true to who you are and don’t let things other people say affect how you think, then you will live a happy life.

Just know that whatever you do in life will make your mother and I proud, and that you will be loved. I can’t wait to meet you and to remind you of all the reasons you are so special.

Three Things to Remember

  • Be nice to your mother, because you will forever be her favorite thing in the world
  • Be confident, considerate, and reliable
  • Do what makes you happy

01-16-18