HeartNote, April 11, 2019: Olivia and Wyatt's Life Manual, Lesson Number 1:

Olivia and Wyatt,

I figured that if there's stuff I think you should know, stuff I wish I knew as I was growing up.

Now, I recognize that you'll be 5 and 3 later this year, so this might be premature, particularly since only one of you can read, and that's just getting started.

But since I'm a little older than you, I figured I'd get moving on this now before I get hit by a bus or can't remember anything or rabbits eat my flesh.

So throughout the year, I'll be periodically sending you little posts about what old bastards like myself would have wanted to do differently if we'd known better, or if we had somebody to encourage us into being the person we were meant to be.

I think this is what I want to offer you, more than anything: Be the person you're most comfortable with, and really love the person you find within you all along the way.

Lesson One: Read, Read, Read.

Here's what happened with your Mom, you Aunts, and Uncles: They read. I read to them when they were little and I think that had a lot to do with them becoming readers. They all read since they were little. Riley, your uncle that looks like he's been repeatedly released from prison, read, "A Prayer For Owen Meany" when he was ten, largely because I read half the book to him in the evenings before he went to bed. He decided to finish the book.

I had a hard time with reading. I didn't finish my first book cover to cover until I was 19. Lots of reasons, but I always thought the best thing you could tell anybody is that they were "well read," so I pursued that goal. I'm far from it, but I still try.

To get started, find something to read that make you laugh. I'm not sure why they don't teach this in school, but laughing is a good motivation to read. It helps me still.

When you live closer, hopefully next fall, I'll read to you both. I'll ask your parents. If I'm still around, we'll put time aside. It will help you get started. Then, one day, you can share with me to stuff you read just to let me know how much you love the stuff you're finding out.

I love you both.


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