My nephew graduated from high school recently and today was his open house. This is a copy of the letter I included in his card.
When I first met you, you were just this little thing they handed to me, all wrapped up in blankets to keep you warm. The first thing I said was "Where is he?" And Laurie and my mom said "Look inside." And I peeked closer and saw your tiny sleeping face.
You weighed just 3 pounds and 3 ounces. If you pick that up in a dumb bell, it doesn't seem so bad. But when you spread that out over a 20" long human - it felt like nothing. I was afraid I was going to break you just by holding you for a few minutes.
After a few weeks, you finally reached 5 pounds and were able to come home.
And over the months, you grew, and the family watched, in awe.
Before you could speak, you demonstrated an understanding of language and colors and shapes, as I would say "put the green triangle on top of the circle" with your building blocks and you did it perfectly, no matter what combination I gave you. You just blew me away.
Sometimes I would babysit you and you were delightful with your curiosity, pointing at things and asking "What's this?" I think "What's this" was like, your fifth word or something. :)
Sometimes when I was babysitting and doing my homework, I would read you to sleep by reading my school textbooks to you. It didn't take long before you were like "Not that book, Aunt Becky." :) More than once you asked me to read the dictionary to you. So I did, and what's best is...you really listened.
Watching you grow up over the years, form your own opinions and ideas, your own likes and dislikes, watching you evolve....has been a pleasure and has been a truer measure of time than I think you'll understand until you have a child in your life that you watch grow. I know it's cliche, but really, it's true. It's really not until there is a child you watch grow into an adult that you have a true understanding of the passage of time.
Now you're a young man out of high school and starting a new chapter, or if life is a multi-series book, then you're in the next book of the series. :)
Now instead of me reading the dictionary to you and showing you all the cool pictures in the National Geographic of all the different types of people and animals in the world, now you're teaching me things about the internet and bravery.
I could not be prouder of you, Jeffrey.
As you go forth in life and continue to grow, I look forward to watching where you go from here and hopefully sharing some of my life experiences and also learning more from you.