I wear many hats in this life of mine but only one -- husband -- is more special than my role as an uncle to six beautiful nieces and three nephews. I'll meet nephew number four when my youngest sister gives birth later today.
One of love's greatest miracles is its ability for infinite expansion; my heart and love swell each time I welcome a new little one into my life and my love for them stretches each passing day as they break my heart and grow up faster than I'm ready to allow.
I love them so much and they each hold a different place in my heart, each with their own story to tell. I've attended dance recitals, soccer games, basketball games, kindergarten graduations, Christmas programs and myriad of birthday parties and other special events, blessed by the gifts they are.
Today I'm thinking especially about the boys, though, and this Guy Clark song performed by Eric Bibb is one of the best about the path from boyhood to manhood. It's filled with beautiful imagery and universal lessons about a life well lived. You really need to take three minutes and listen to it. I'm not given to teariness myself but I can't hear it without feeling something.
I think of my own childhood and smile, cringe, and hold my breath as I imagine the life in front of these four as I remember superhero dreams and disappointments on the path that led me to where I am today. I think about my mom and the moms of these four boys who will bandage knees and take them to the ER when they fall from a bicycle or a tree and watch over them as they play.
I pray these four boys, my boys, will find the strength to walk unafraid their own path towards manhood with the confidence to let their triumphs define them, not their mistakes. I realize there isn't much wisdom for me to impart to make the journey easier -- either because I've yet to attain it or, equally likely, failed to retain it -- but I've tried to start the process early with each of them, passing on what little I've got share. For this little one, the learning starts today.
Lesson 1: your uncle loves you.
Lesson 2: Spread your arms and hold your breath and always trust your cape…