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Alex and the leaves. (2002)
Six years ago today, my nephew, Alex Ray Botello, the only leaf on his branch of the family tree, was born.
These words are for him:
In a couple more years, Alex, we'll be setting up your annual visits with Uncle Peter for fun and games.
A few years after that and you'll be taking your first tentative steps towards adulthood.
Then, before you know it, high school is behind you and life is towering — exciting and scary and big.
A really, really smart guy named Sir Isaac Newton once wrote, "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." Other than just seeing, there are lots of aspects in life for which those words ring true, Alex.
Look for opportunities and not just in the obvious places. Remember there are lots of different paths up the mountain and some of the best ones involve the strangest of detours.
Take chances, but don't be reckless, and, above all else, be passionate (this will mean different things at different times, but they're each important in their own way).
Wherever you go, keep your friends and family close to your heart. And never underestimate the good that a dog will bring to your life.
Right now, you probably can't even imagine that you'll ever have to worry about this stuff. After all, you've been a kid forever! That's OK, no one is ever ready for any of this and, even though that's true, you're gonna do just fine.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret. For the next dozen years or so, lots of adults are going to be giving you advice (kinda like all this stuff I've written today for you) and most of it is going to be pretty good advice too. But all these things that I and your mom and your dad and your grandpa and your grandma and all the other adults are going to tell you are a lot more important for us to say than they are for you to hear. If you want to help us out, you should listen patiently and nod at all the right places, and then tell us you love us and go back to whatever it is you really want to do at the moment.
So be patient with us adults, because we don't have the wisdom you do, and when you're ready to take a look, let me know and I'll help you up. My shoulders are strong.
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