I've read so many blog entries like this over the years. Most of them are much longer than 11, but I'm a woman of few words.
It's been a long, hard journey getting to this point, and as I type this and the little wiggle worm is flopping around like crazy inside of me, I am sobered and brought low. So many years spent thinking that this would never happen-- that there was something very wrong with me. That I would spend my entire life in limbo, never being able to be what I truly believe I was made to be. All of that, only to be proven wrong. And it is so good.
I'll just cut to the chase now.
Dear Little Mister Josiah,
1) As a white American male, born to educated parents, with all of your needs met, you are one of the most privileged people in the world. Recognize it. Lay it down. Be the voice for the voiceless. You cannot both indulge in your privilege and help those who do not have it.
2) Your life will be filled with people who are vastly different from you. We're doing this on purpose. Someone looking, believing, acting, or living differently does not give you an excuse to not love. There is never an excuse for not loving-- for not engaging.
3) Chivalry is not sexism-- unless she says no. Being a gentleman can mean carrying heavy things and holding doors open, but it can also mean recognizing and empowering independence in the women around you.
4) Jesus is very real to me. Obviously, you are free to make your own decisions about this, but I feel like I should tell you because it's something I have a really hard time shutting up about. Your father is worse than I am. Just know that it isn't something we have come to by means of ignorance or indoctrination, but by means of true experience and real transformation. This is the only real way to "find religion."
5) Your father hates it when the sink is completely full of dishes, and your mother hates it when dishes aren't rinsed. I'm just warning you. Use the countertop. Rinse the stinkin' dishes after you're done.
6) Knowing who you are is one of the most powerful, intimidating, and irritating things you can do. Do it boldly.
7) Women do not owe you anything for being nice to them.
8) Wealth does not equal success, and it certainly doesn't equal integrity. Poverty does not equal laziness, nor does it determine someone's character.
9) Your name means something. It means something big. Own it.
10) No matter what you do or who you become, there is always a place for you in my heart and in my home. This is not cliche'. I mean this with everything that I am.
11) I waited for you for a very long time. I named you before I really, truly believed that you would come. I prayed for you everyday for years. I cannot put into words how fierce my love for you is. Never doubt this, even if I screw up. Even if I say the wrong thing or treat you the wrong way. Just know... You are my hallelujah.