Welcome to this world, my darling niece. If I do say so myself, you have made an excellent choice of family. We are a rambunctious crew -- and you might need to learn how to get a word in edgewise -- but we tend to be steadfast, supportive, and silly, as the situation requires. While you can undoubtedly find a more definitive source of wisdom about human life -- I recommend starting by watching "Groundhog Day" and "The Princess Bride" -- I would like to give you the benefit of some of my accumulated wisdom, gained haphazardly over 40-some years.
In this life, you will sometimes have to do things you don't really want to do, sort of like a cat being taken to the vet. You will then be faced with the choice between yowling your displeasure or calmly listening to the music on the car radio. I recommend the latter.
A banana that's too green is no good at all. But a mushy banana can be turned into banana bread or a smoothie, or put in the freezer overnight and then blended in the food processor to make a tasty frozen treat. So when life gives you brown bananas, make banana bread.
Sometimes, when people say they need a little more space, they just mean that they need more space. Sometimes when they say they need a little more space, they mean they want to break up with you. It becomes a little easier over time to figure out which is which.
When people make jokes, there's always a little bit of truth in them.
In some circles, a test of your coolness is how well you can quote a particular movie or book or poem. Don't get too hung up about whether you can do that, because if you share interests with those people, chances are they will be happy to have you serve as their audience.
Day-Glo is a copyrighted term. So are Dumpster and Band-Aid. If you think it's ridiculous for a company to claim that they own a term just because they invented it, you've never received a polite but pointed letter from the good folks at the Day-Glo Color Corporation.
Some things just don't make sense, like America's obsession with the Kardashians. I take some solace in the fact that, by the time you are old enough to read this, your answer to this point will be, "Who are the Kardashians?"
Whenever possible, dance like a Muppet, my little puppet.
Men's clothing sizes are based on measurements, while women's sizes are a random combination of letters and numbers. Don't ever take it personally if a garment doesn't look right on you, or if you have to jump up to a bigger size for it to fit properly. I guarantee you that nobody is going to demand to see the tag.
Some of the cheeriest sounding songs are actually about really sad things. Don't ask me why. Humans are just wired to love lyrical dissonance.
Speaking of brains and music, the first time you ever hear a song you like, you will ever after expect to hear it the same way. So that if, for example, the first time you ever heard the hit "1234" by Feist was on "Sesame Street," where they changed the lyrics to include penguins, you're going to always expect to hear those lyrics. Anything else -- such as the original lyrics -- will just sound wrong, without the penguins.
Few things hurt as much as stepping barefoot on a LEGO.
It's best to set a timer before beginning to play The Sims or any other addictive video game. The first time I ever played it, I was amazed when all of a sudden, I saw the sun coming up outside my window. Or as my friend recounted my story, I was amazed that the game had the ability to make the sun come up.
There are many ways to love somebody. If anyone ever tells you they'd rather be your friend than your lover, it may feel like a rejection, but it is actually one of the best promises anyone can make to you. True friendship will outlast all sorts of heartbreak.
I suggest you buy as many blues albums as you can.
A friend once suggested to me that we were all an infinitely bored god, split into parts, dreaming, and that one day, we will all come together to share our stories about what we have learned. While this may not be true, it is true that sharing your stories about the things that make you laugh or cry helps you laugh more and cry less.
There is much more I could share with you, but I'll have to pick this up another time. Your cousin has the croup and is currently demanding that I "squish him some more." As you will no doubt understand some day, this is a request that must be honored. We can pick up this conversation later. In the meantime, if you have any questions, ask your mother. She's pretty smart, too.
I intend to share this with my sister, so please add any wisdom you'd like to share in the comments below for my niece, born on Halloween.