Yes, I addressed this to you as boys. While your towering height, man faces with no trace of child, and your departures dictate otherwise to us; you will remain boys in our mind’s eye for some time to come. If you look carefully, you can still see this is how your Papa looks at your mums and uncles. He sees two little girls and two little boys playing house and loving the families they created. His pores seep with pride. It is not a pride of having created it, it is a pride of gratitude that life permitted him to be a part of what he sees. Watch for it, it’s all over his face every time we get together.
We are beyond excited for you. We are excited for ourselves. It’s an opportunity for us to relive the same chapters in our lives; to bestow upon you our experiences and most certainly our unwanted and much needed advice. It is an odd position we, your aunts and uncles and mum and dad, find ourselves in. It is our turn to observe, our turn to be left behind. As much as the fussing, the excitement and the tears are about you, it’s equally about ourselves.
We are living in sepia filtered memories of pints downed with people we no longer recall the names of, regrets that ultimately shaped our current existence, of friendships forged and faded. A life is not fully lived until you have drunkenly belted out the words of a Stan Rogers shanty. I offer you a small bursary (a 2/4 of beer) if you can sing, in one go, the whole of Barrett’s Privateers to me by Thanksgiving. We learned about ourselves in this space between childhood and adulthood. It’s a special place to be, it’s a hard place to be.
And for the hard you are prepared. What your family has built for you is an incredibly solid foundation. This is a foundation that can weather any storm, flood or fire. Your job now is to build the home that will protect the foundation. Gentlemen, build it with respect for your siblings. Your parents and uncles can provide you no better example. As you move through time, you will understand that these four are the exception to the rule.
Build it with love for other humans. It is always easier to be angry, try to fight it with love. Others around you are not building with the same foundation you were given. Build it with understanding, give others a context. Ask questions and listen carefully to the answers. You will make mistakes, use the wrong screws, or nails, get mixed up in the lumber you choose, but you can always rebuild. Your foundation will remain strong.
There are many lotteries in life, at the outset you pulled from the hat one of the biggest wins. It has no monetary value. You can’t give numbers to this, there is no way to define this lottery other than the experience of life. It is a wealth that accrues with age, be certain to spread it gentlemen. And we will be watching to ensure that you do.
Love, Aunt Vanessa