Dear Keelan Michael Mullin,
Now that you have joined us, I'd like to share a few words with you.
Every child is precious. Your mum and dad, and your big brother too, are the only ones who know right now exactly how special you are. As you grow and reach out to accept the big wide world around you, the rest of us will get to know a little of your specialness, too.
But, you see, the world is changing. It has a habit of doing that. You were born to a wider community in a way; you've got dozens of virtual aunties and uncles within the community of E2, most of whom you'll probably never meet.
Though we have not met you, we love you nonetheless.
While you were in your mum's tummy, we knew about your coming. We pestered your dad endlessly for news of you. And when the time came for you to be born, we stood there by him — in spirit — as you came into the world. We waited eagerly for whatever news he could tell us. Your mum must be very patient to let him be typing at us (briefly!) while you were being born, really. But maybe the positive force of our focus, our prayers and our good wishes made a difference to you and your family. At least, I hope they did.
I don't know your dad all that well, Keelan, but I've seen the fire in his eyes as he watched his work come to life on stage for the first time. He's helped me and plenty of others, too, out of the goodness of his heart, and I can tell you that he's a great man. I don't know your mom at all, but she must be someone very special as well. She couldn't be otherwise, there's just no two ways about it. You should be proud of them both, and your brother, too.
Here are a few wishes and thoughts I have for you, Keelan.
• Always remember your family loves you.
• You don't have to follow in anyone's footsteps. Make your own life.
• May you grow up strong, healthy, and agile, and yet remember, still, to be gentle.
• May you learn the pleasure and the fascination of the words your father uses so gracefully.
• May you wield those words you learn with precision and intent. Words are the best thing that can ever happen to you, next to your family's love.
• Remember that "I don't know" is a good answer, and it is okay to laugh at yourself.
• May you have endless amounts of fun.
• Enjoy Seattle while you're there; the Pacific Northwest is an amazing place to be. Go see Butchart Gardens, it's not too far off. While enjoying them, make sure to learn its history; not many women plant quarries while hanging off a rope! See Deception Pass, a place I know well, and learn its story. Meet the old guy who lives on the road to the pass who sells whirligigs. Find one that makes you laugh. Ride the ferry to Friday Harbor, and watch the islands appear like magic out of the fog in the morning. Learn about the orca pods. Be delighted by the endless acres of tulips in the spring in Mount Vernon. Drive up into the mountains and find the roadside farm that raises miniature horses. The person who created fantastic chainsaw carvings has moved on, I'm told, but you might still be able to find his art here and there. Experience the bald eagle festival in the mountains in the early spring; watch them land in the trees next to you, and hear them calling. When you're older, go see Mount St. Helens and learn about what happened there. Marvel at the power of the earth to renew herself, and, if you get lucky, catch sight of the elk herds — they're pretty amazing too.
• Don't just watch sunrises... live them.
• Observe a hummingbird. Is its breast red, or green? How does it move like that? Wonder how it can sleep overnight, and imagine how tiny the eggs it lays must be.
• Find out the hard way why Everywhere is Kitten Trouble. And enjoy it.
• Find the first daffodil of spring each year, and bring it to your mom. Watch her face light up.
• Eat good food.
• Love well.
• Be safe.
And, lastly, remember not to take anything too seriously. It's here for you to enjoy. Be one with your life.