This is finally “it”. After nearly two weeks of prodromial labor, a few false alarms, and a great deal of stress on the part of our entire family, Jessica is FINALLY in the hospital to deliver her baby. We’re still under the assumption that she’ll be a baby girl, but surprises have happened before and will happen again, I’m sure.
I’m excited, but feel very disconnected from everything since I’m nearly 700 miles away. This means I have to start packing, though, since I’ll be heading home to Kentucky for at least 2 or 3 weeks very soon. My baby brother will very soon be someone’s father. That’s just a little unsettling.
I hope you are born with your father’s energy and your mother’s grace.
I hope you inherit your laugh from your Granny Sandy. Her laugh is like tiny sprinkles of cold rain in the middle of July.
I hope you are as strong as your Papaw Chet. He’s humbly carried our world on his shoulders for a lifetime. He rarely stumbles and never falls.
I hope you have faith like your Great-Grandma Jewel, and fire like your Great-Grandma Auglee.
I hope you are as slow to anger as your Great-Uncle Wendell was, and as quick to fight for what you know is right.
I hope you are as inventive and curious as your Great-Grandpa Goms. I also hope you never decide to name your children after him!
I hope you are as stubborn as your Great-Grandpa Ruben, but more willing to bend into the arms of those who love you.
I hope you can compete like an Allen and sing like a Howard. I hope you will run with my children and rest in my arms with them when the thrills of childhood have worn you down. I hope you never have nightmares but, if you do, I hope there is always someone to squeeze you if you wake up in tears. I hope that you’ll always believe you are beautiful, and always see the beauty in your family and friends. I hope you are healthy and never face the battles that our family has struggled through in the past.
You are blessed to be born in a family with hearts as big as the sky, and roots that grow deep into the mountains you will call home. Embrace your heritage and let it’s colors paint you and fill you, because struggling will only cut you off from the things you need the most when you are grown and gone. Find comfort in your big, crazy clan and wrap yourself in the warmth of cousins and kin. Don’t let them be strangers. There are already far too many strangers who will walk through your life, so make sure you have these perfect and precious hands to hold. Linking yourself to your family will help you find a way home if you ever feel lost. Listen to your parents when they talk to you about faith. Let your heart stay open to the whispers of that faith, and fill your soul with it’s peace and presence. Life without faith is hard, cold and nearly empty and it is so much harder to pick up the pieces of a broken spirit than it is to keep it whole in the first place.
I could talk to you forever and still not be able to tell you everything you need to know. Tonight, while you are still struggling to find your way into this world, I am filling the space that will some day be yours with blessings and hopes and prayers and advice that I have not even thought to offer my own children. Your life will be different than their lives. You will be unique to them, because you are a part of a heritage that they can only see in passing, and will never fully understand. You are a piece of what I would wish for them, if things were different. You are an Allen, living among Allens, in a place where you will always be at home. They can only visit that place, both physically and emotionally. That is a gift your Father and Mother are giving you that I would have loved to be able to give to your cousins, so please take full advantage of all it has to offer you as you grow up.
I hope you always know how much I love you.