A month ago today my daughter, Eleanor, was born. My wife and I named her after our grandmothers, both of who have passed in recent years. To say my life has changed would be an understatement.
The birth was a planned cesarean section at 8:00am. At 8:12am Eleanor was officially born and by 8:30 am my wife was in the recovery room. That first day was a lot of hurry up and wait but by that afternoon things had calmed down and we managed to catch our breath.
At 2:50pm I received a message on Facebook from a friend of mine. As anyone visiting this site surely knows, I’m close to John Wick so it was no surprise to get a congratulations message from him. After all, I’d been receiving them all day. Except this wasn’t a message like the others I’d been receiving. This was a letter. To my daughter.
I see you sleeping there, all tiny and adorable. I’ll be very quiet, so’s not to wake you.
Welcome to the world. It’s a big, beautiful place. I’ve spent most of my life indoors, so I never really got to appreciate how big it was until recently. I started traveling the world, you see, getting to visit all kinds of places, meeting all kinds of people. And after 46 years of doing this “life” thing, I’d like to offer you some free advice for a tiny, little person such as yourself.
Dare to be amazing. Dare to be unique. Dare to be breath-taking.
Dare to be the person who stands up when everyone else is sitting down. Dare to be the person who speaks up when everyone else bows their heads.
Dare to learn. Dare to challenge the things you believe. Dare to be wrong.
Try everything. All the food. All the dances. All the music.
Kiss and huge the people you love and tell them that you love them. Every day. All day long. Do it with words, do it with gifts. Do it with clever tricks. Surround yourself with loving people and you surround yourself with love.
Dare to hurt. Take risks. Take chances. Be bold.
Read books. All of them. Every one you can. A book is someone else reaching out, speaking to you. Learn to listen to what they say. Some of it will be beautiful. Some of it will be ugly. But books teach you more than just how to read. They teach you how to hear. They teach you how to listen to what others are trying to say.
There will be times that you will be afraid. That’s okay. You can be afraid. But don’t let it take over. A very smart man named Sam taught me that courage isn’t the lack of fear, it’s acting despite fear. He told me that in a book. I read it over one hundred years after he wrote it. Books are time machines, too.
Trust your parents. As you get older, you will feel the temptation to disobey them growing stronger in your heart. Disobedience is a Good Thing, but like all other things, it must be tempered with good sense.They’re good people. And even when they’re angry with you, they still love you. I know that won’t make sense until you’re older, but you have to trust them. I’m 46 years old and my parents still love me. They’ve never stopped loving me. And I did some really stupid stuff.
And one last thing. Learn magic. Your dad can teach you. Learning how magic tricks work will teach you more about the world than you could ever know. You’ll learn how to fool people, but more importantly, you’ll learn how we fool ourselves. Some use this power for evil. You can learn it for good.
We have not met yet, but I hope we will in a few weeks. You’ve got a good head start on the world, Eleanor. You’ve got good parents and they’ve got good friends. And if you ever need a friend, don’t even think of hesitating to ask. I’ll be right here.
Your new friend,
I was touched. It meant a lot to me that John would write a bit of advice to my daughter on the day she was born. I’ve made the comparison since but I feel that its apt. If an artist friend drew a picture or painted a portrait for Eleanor we would frame it and hang it in her room. I have a friend who is a writer, why shouldn’t his gift be honored in a similar way.
I sat down a couple of days later and drafted up a design for John’s letter. I pulled fonts and some art from the Houses of the Blooded PDF.
From there I went over to Staples, who I’ve used for printing Con materials in the past, and turned that design into a 24” x 36” poster. A few days later a tube arrived at our house. The poster turned out great. I bought a simple frame for it and now have John’s letter sitting in my daughter’s room.
I’ve waited until I could share this with people closest to me, but a month into this crazy journey that is fatherhood I feel compelled to share. I feel so lucky to have such caring friends. While John addressed the letter to Eleanor, I felt a personal connection the last lines.
And if you ever need a friend, don’t even think of hesitating to ask. I’ll be right here.
Thank you, everyone, for being my friend.