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Dear Claire and Tom

By: Jefferson Weaver

I must preface this with an apology; at this point, I have no idea if you are both boys, both girls, or one of each. As I write these words, it hasn’t been long that your mom has known she was expecting. We know there are two of you, since the doctor found your mom’s heartbeat as well as yours. We don’t know for sure whether you are a Tom and a Britt, or a Claire and an Ellie. For the moment, I’m trying to cover all the bases.
This is an unusual letter, to say the least; a lot of other people will likely read it before you even take your first breaths in the world. Needless to say, I haven’t met you. For that matter, I haven’t met your mother.
But I’m one of the folks who was praying for you, back when we found out your mom was pregnant. You see, she was scared, and considering something very bad. Thankfully, she changed her mind, so one of these days, you’ll be born. Sadly, a lot of other babies never had that chance.
I assure you, I am nothing special. It’s just that someone else who cares about you called me and asked that we pray for your mom.
Sometimes it’s a scary world out here, even for adults, much less for little kids; your mom isn’t much more than a little kid herself. Don’t be upset that she was scared. Be proud that she was brave.
I had nothing to do with bringing you into this world, Tom and Claire, but I want to make you a promise: your Aunt Rhonda and I will be there for you, as long as your mom says it’s okay. There are a lot of other folks who made that promise, too; I can vouch for them, that you and your mom are loved, even if we have never met you.
I’m fair to middling sure that, given the chance, we’ll all share something with you.
Your Uncle Ron can fix just about anything mechanical; Aunt Debbie was a nurse, and still is, in her heart. She has a hand for nurturing big critters, and teaching people how ride horses.
Dr. Charlie and Aunt Donna (she was also a nurse) – now, they know critters too, as well as taking care of little kids. Dr. Charlie helped make a lot of little kids feel better when they were sick. They’re there for you, too.
Some of your strongest prayer warriors were Preacher Lamont and Aunt Alicia, as well as Aunt MJ and Uncle Brandon. Aunt Alicia’s an artist; Aunt MJ is a fantastic cook. Preacher Lamont and Uncle Brandon are some of the strongest Christian men I’ve ever known. Both couples were among the first who volunteered to give you and your mom a home if you needed one.
Uncle Steve and Aunt Teresa know how to make things grow; you’ll never be hungry if you’re ever around them, and you’ll almost always be laughing. Your other Uncle Steve and Uncle Peter don’t even know each other, but they both love music, and have been praying for you.
Uncle August and Aunt Jennifer aren’t married yet, but they have been lifting you from the moment they found out you were coming into the world.
Your Aunt Cynthia is an artist in her own right, but her skills lie in organizing things; she knows how to bring people and things together. She’s a classy lady, and a lot of fun. She is scared of possums – but she loves babies, too.
Your Aunt Rhonda can raise all kinds of little critters, and she can teach you all you’ll ever need to know about fishing. Little kids think she’s a lot of fun, since she ain’t much bigger than many of them, and she’s still a kid at heart.
And me? Well, I have so much I want to show you.
I want to help you learn to read, since you are never alone nor are you poor, when you can read. I want to teach you about God, and how prayers aren’t always answered like we want them to be, but like He knows is best for us.
I want to teach you to call a squirrel with two dimes, and lead a dove as it flashes across the September sky of a cornfield. I want to help you calm your nerves when a big deer snorts and steps out in the chill dawn of November. I want to hold your hand as we tumble through the midnight woods, chasing the sounds of hounds chasing a coon. I want to be there to back you up when a wild hog turns toward us on a tangled trail in a Carolina bay.
I want you to know the deep luxury of a the fur of a bobcat, a coyote, a fox, a beaver and an otter, and understand that we are responsible for looking after God’s creations, but not worshipping them like some silly people do. I want to be there when you catch your first fish, and read your first book by yourself (I have a copy of ‘Listen, Rabbit’ just for you.) I want to help you chase chickens (Aunt Debbie’s scared of them, by the way, so we’ll do that at my house).
I want to help you understand that even with all its flaws, the America you are being born into is still the greatest country on earth. It might well come down to you being among those who have to defend it; I am not one for predicting the future, but I want you prepared if it comes to that.
I want to help you learn to ride a bike (much sooner than I did); sharpen a pocketknife; write a sentence; read a map; build a campfire, and a shelter from the rain; shoot a rifle and a shotgun; train a dog; learn history the way it was meant to be learned; learn how to track a critter through the woods; learn manners that will make you stand out, and hopefully give you an edge when you grow up. I want you to learn how to listen to other people, and try to help them. I want to teach you how to evaluate everything available, and make the best decision you can – and stick with it if you know you’re right.
There’s so much I want to teach you, Claire and Tom, just as there is so much a bunch of other folks want to teach you, too. There’s a politician who likes to run around saying it takes a village to raise a child—well, I don’t buy that.
It does, however, take a family – and you two have a really big one that already loves you.
We found out about you in the Moon of Last Harvest, as the Indians called October; your mother saved your lives in November, the Moon of Trading. She’s got several long, tough months ahead of her, but we’ll be seeing you, sometime around the Moon of Green Grass, in late spring — the time of promise.
Speaking of promises – your mom was scared, and thought she was going to have to go through this all alone. I can promise you, you’re never going to be alone – God loves you, and you have a big ol’ family that has never even met you, so you’re never, ever going to be alone.
Uncle Jefferson

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