My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:
You have been on my mind a lot lately. I hope you are doing OK. In time of need, lean on your brother and on family, OK?
If you are lucky, in life, you will find a handful of friends who will be as close as, or closer than, family. If you have those, lean on them during hard times. But, make sure they are true friends and won’t lead you astray. Drugs, alcohol, girls with loose morals, etc., are never the answer. They are temporary distractions which will only lead to more problems. (On the other hand, a woman of substance and integrity is worth more than her weight in gold. If you find her, keep her.)
Call on your favorite Auntie and your favorite cousins on my side. Don’t lose touch with them! We are successful, and I want you to spend time with people who are going places. For example, as nice as your cousin Russ is, finding his first paying (and non-volunteering) job five years after graduating from college does not make him a poster child for success. I am proud of him for pushing forward and getting a job, and for not falling into a life of crime like his brother, but, I know you can do better. Alv and Aar both have babies out-of-wedlock, and are in dead-end jobs. Here, too, I expect more of you. Be responsible, and don’t ruin the lives of others for your selfish, momentary gain.
Remember, you own the relationships you have in live, not your mother. Insist on seeing your cousins. If your mother doesn’t want to come, she doesn’t need to. She can stay home and watch TV as she always did before. (Remember, get out of the house and get some fresh air! Don’t waste all your time in front of the TV, computer, or video console. It’s not healthy!)
What worries me most is that you are extremely bright, and have the most to lose. That would be a great loss for you and for the world.
You are my miracle child. Before you, we lost Frederique during pregnancy. It was hard on both your mother and I. That move precipitated our move to Oregon, for her to be closer to her family.
You were an amazing child! You were such a bright and inquisitive child. Your precociousness found expression when you were no more than 2-3 months old. For example, we read to you all the time, and you loved this one page with an orange crab that popped out of the page. Whenever we reached that page, you’d kick your legs, whirl your arms, and got so excited, you’d spit. I have that on video. (Unfortunately, I cannot attached the video without a premium account, so this picture will have to do.) None of the other creatures or colors did it for you. Just this crab. We never knew why.
You could spell your name when you were 19 months old! I have it on video as well.
You used to call balloons “boom boom” and got excited whenever you saw them. Once, we were driving along, and you shouted “Boom boom! Boom boom!” We looked around, but didn’t see it. When asked where, you said, “Behind! Behind!” Of course, there was a huge balloon floating in the air behind a building.
You used to love excavators and dinosaurs. You always made us stop every time we saw an excavator or cement mixer. Once, Gramma said you screamed so hard when mom refused to stop, that she had to turn around and let you look at it. (Yes, you trained her well, and you always had your way with mom.)
You and I drew enough pictures of dinosaurs to fill two binders, remember? We had many dinosaur books and spent hours poring over them when I got home from work. You knew them all by name!
In fact, once, when you were about four, we went the Oregon Aquarium (as we frequently did). Naturally, we visited the star fish display, as that was also one of your favorite things. The elderly Aquarium volunteer was identifying the various types of star fish, and misidentified one. You corrected her. You were so insistent that she had to stop to check … and discovered you were right!
Don’t lose that passion, Shosh. The world needs people like that.
Once, after your visit, my staff, Ms. Theresa and Mr. Dave, shook their heads and thanked God they didn’t have to raise a bright child like you. Even at a tender age, you were logical and eloquent. I think they asked you liked dinosaurs, you said, “Well, there are three reasons….” You were four years old!
Never be ashamed of being you. You are simply too amazing and too precious for the world to be deprived of who you truly are. Be you.
All my love, always,