03 August 2015

Letter to my nephew: First birthday

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

Dear Derrick –

You are almost one year old. Last summer, I wrote you a letter (while you were still unnamed) that talked about the hopes I had for you and me together as aunt and nephew. And now that we have been together for almost a year, I thought it was time to write you another letter. Be warned, it gets mushy.

The day you were born, was such a happy day. I had my phone practically taped to my hand waiting for news from your dad. The night before you were born, I talked to your dad before midnight and he said that you would arrive sometime the next day. And then, just a few hours later, around 2am-ish, I woke up for no reason, only to hear my phone ring almost immediately and your dad said, “your nephew is here.” I didn’t sleep for the rest of the night because I was so excited. And a week later, I came back to Milwaukee to see you in person, and that is when I fell so madly in love with you, I knew I would never be the same. Don’t get me wrong, I loved you before you were born, but seeing you in person, it made that love multiply by a million.

For several reasons, I also got to spend a lot of time with you when you were around 3-5 months old. And during that very dark and sad time, our family, including you, is what got me through. You reminded me of what’s really important in life. You were the brightest spot during a time of endlessly applying for jobs and visits to the hospital, hospice, and then funeral home. You reminded me that I’m your Auntie Jess and that it doesn’t matter where I work or what I do because a) I feed you and b) love you unconditionally. Watching you start to grow and take shape was so fulfilling. I saw you smile, try to roll over, and eventually crawl, and I’m so glad I got to be there for those moments when you were young. I swear you knew who I was, even at this age. Because you would look at me and just smile, and that made me so happy. Leaving you for three months was horrible. You changed so much while I was gone, even though we Skyped early morning in Vietnam at very late night in Australia. Seeing you reminded me what I was coming back to.

I tell everyone how wonderful it is to be an aunt. I want everyone to experience it because you make me so happy that I cannot imagine someone not feeling that way. As of today, I have 98 photos of you marked as “favorite” in my phone, which is just the abridged number of photos I can reference to show friends when I force them to look at photos of you. If I ever need a pick-me-up, I look at those photos, and I’m instantly happier. You just have that effect on me.

And now that you can stand and are shaping in to that much more of a little boy, I’m still so excited to see how you grow up and the kind of man you become.

Your mom and dad called me while I was in Laos (post-food poisoning) and asked me to be your co-godmother. That term has a lot of meanings, but what I swear to you is that, I will always be there for you. If you need advice, to vent or to ask for help (and can’t talk to your parents), I’ll never let you down. I have a lot of life experience, random and practical, and I will teach you as much as I can. And, this applies even if we’re in different states or parts of the world. I’ll always listen or hold you if you need it. But I won’t lie to you or tell you what you want to hear. I’m not religious, but I will support you in whatever spiritual or non-journey you take. Unless it’s to a cult, then Auntie Jess is going to have to come get you and knock some sense in to you. These promises I make to you are the same as I did in my last letter, but are just that much more true now.

You are the love of my life, and I’m so glad you are my nephew. Thank you for giving me the best job I’ve ever had.

Happy birthday Derrick. I love you to the moon and beyond (and back).


Your Auntie Jess


  1. katelin says:

    Sweet mercy I love this so much.

  2. So beautiful. So much love xoxo

  3. Stevie says:

    Love this so much! Being an auntie is so, so special. I absolutely adore my 2 nieces and nephew, and my relationships with them have made me appreciate my own uncle and aunt even more. Happy birthday little Derrick!