This is your Auntie speaking. It is 3:06 am on a Monday morning, and I have work in a few hours. I’ve been waking up like this for well over a year now, I’ll toss and turn in bed for hours (to the delight of your Uncle “Nonah”) but this is the first time I’ve ever gotten up and attempted put my thoughts into a legible form. I want to maintain this little space on the internet so that you can read and comprehend these words someday. At 2 years old you’re the light of my life, so I can only imagine the joy you’ll bring me when you can form whole sentences. (July 2013 update: You’re now talking in full sentences and cracking me up daily! You get funnier every single day and I love you more and more! Or as you say, “mores”)

Ok Eli, here’s the deal. You’re auntie is scared. Like, really scared. I don’t know where this dream of traveling the world is taking me and I’m freaking out. I’m having to make some really hard decisions and sacrifices and it's becoming more real each day. I’m ashamed to admit this to you, but my track record for completing well, anything is not good. When the going gets tough, you’re aunt gives up. At least … until now. I’ve never taken the wheel of my life before and it's the reason I’ve been waking up in a cold sweat but strangely, also the very reason that drives me to go further down that path. You see, normally your Auntie is a dream-clinger. Nothing gives me greater pleasure in life than to build others up and see them reach a potential they never thought was possible. It’s pure magic basking in the aura of someone’s light and because of that, I love being the perpetual cheerleader. So far, life has been a play and I it’s understudy. I hide backstage where it’s safe from scrutiny and raise the curtain. The star takes center stage and they take their well deserved bow. I close my eyes and dream without action “someday, someday…”

The downside to always being backstage though is that I have become a product of other people’s expectations. Because I didn’t have enough confidence in my dreams, decisions were made for me. Mind you, not against my will. I just secretly seethed while having the power to make changes all along. You see Eli, blaming something else is easy, learning to call bull**** on yourself is much, much harder. Granted, in that time I have learned to adapt and go with the flow but my single regret is that I have no idea what it’s like to see my ideas through, to actually give it life, and get swept up in it’s current. I’m petrified of failure, the unknown, of missing you and our family, saying goodbye to Ninja, snakes in the toilet and a million other things! But these are my excuses and none of them are good enough to not have a goal.  Normally, I’d wrap myself up in an extreme excuse burrito and go fetal, but no more Eliott. I want you to be proud of me, so I have to end this cycle.

You won’t remember this but every time we watch The Muppet Show together (You say, “Mups!”)  I squeeze you a little tighter. I hold your little hand in mine and warm myself  in your wonderment. This will sound cliche’ but it really is like reliving my childhood with you and all these feelings I never really exercise often come up. I’m filled with both overwhelming love and loss. Love for you, but loss because at 30, I realize now that all my “silly” childhood thoughts were actually my most lucid. I only started to settle for things I really didn’t want when I mucked it up with judgments (others and my own), bitterness (due to my own unfulfilled dreams) and complacency (it’s so much easier to eat a sleeve of Oreos than change my situation). These adult “problems” kept me from believing those words that every good parent quotes to their children, “You can do anything you want to do, if you put your mind to it!”

My 4th grade workbook: the dreams of a 9 year old. (sidenote: This wasn’t even a world map, they tried to constrict our replies to the states. Pfft.)

I love being with you Eliott not because of what I give you, but what I get from you. Selfishly, I am observing you and taking diligent notes. A few weeks back you picked up a plain grey rock in a bed of  plain, grey rocks. But you gave it to me and my heart skipped a beat. This plain, grey rock wasn’t plain at all! It had golden swirls and maroon specks I didn’t see before. It was truly beautiful! Instantly, I understood why you chose that rock. Why can’t I see through your eyes all the time? Though right now I’m getting so much more from you, I do want to return the favor. The only way I know how to repay you is to stop giving merit to my excuses, nurture my curiosity, creativity and lead by example.

I want to live in the moment like you do, see the beauty of this world, be fearless, use my imagination every single day, Never stop learning, teaching and seeing what I’m truly capable of.

You make me want to become a better person. 

Eliott, I want you to read these words and understand that I will push on, I will face the unknown because of you. It’s you who drives me to step out of my comfort zone.  In you, I’ve found my strength. My reason.Yes, this is me & uncle Noah’s dream but this has taken on a life of it’s own and it’s bigger than us. It’s a calling, and I want you to know that if you ever have such a calling in your own life it’s OK to be scared but please push on anyway.

Basically Eli, this is my round about way of telling you that the world is yours. Anything you put your mind to, you can do. Come ask me about it sometime because when you read this, I’ll be taking my bow center stage. Finally the lead of my own destiny, finally having the life experience to show you how.

Your cheerleader for life,

Auntie Lynnie xoxo

So this is love.