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November 5th, 2005

Dear Annabella Iris,

Greetings!...and welcome to planet Earth.  We’ve been waiting for your arrival for six billion years (or six thousand, depending on who’s counting).  You picked a nice day for your coming out party, as the skies in Vermillion are fair and the temp could reach 60 degrees today.  You may feel a little chill until you get used to clothes and booties.  They will feel odd at first, but believe me, you will learn to love them. Grandma Susie has been shopping since last May to make sure you stay warm and fashionable.

Congratulations…You come into this world a very lucky little girl.  You have been born to two loving, optimistic parents who have big plans for your future.  You have an extended family of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins that are anxious to welcome you and look forward to watching you develop into the wonderful person we all know you will become. 

Our world is in its usual state of turmoil here in 2005.  Some people like to say that evil is more pervasive than in years past, but the truth is we are no better or worse than we have been for the last century.  During the next 100 years that you will be here, we expect to see many new and wonderful changes and inventions…much of which we can’t even imagine today.  My hope for you is that you will someday be able to look back over your long life and say that the world is a much better place than it was when you arrived.

Here are the day’s headlines: We are getting ready for a fight in the U.S. Senate over the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.  My guess is he’s confirmed and still on the bench when you get to college.  Bird flu is in the news.  It hasn’t widely broken out among humans yet, but the fear of a 21st century pandemic is real if it continues to mutate.  The governor of Wisconsin just vetoed a ban on human cloning.  We can’t actually clone people yet, but it’s turned into a hot-button political issue and this is good news for scientific research.  Our two year old war in Iraq continues to go poorly.  Public support is fading fast, so it’s just a matter of time before we find a way out of that mess.  The New England Patriots are the reigning football champs, and the Chicago White Sox just won their first world series in forever.  Your favorite football team will be the Chiefs…I promise.

George W. Bush is our president.  Half of us like him and half of us don’t (Grandpa Mike thinks he’s kind of poopie).  We haven’t had a woman president yet, but I would bet anything that will change soon. Women made great gains in the 20th century, but their progress has slowed recently.  So maybe you will grow up and be the leader we always seem to be looking for, but rarely find (no pressure here: ).

Here’s some advice to help you find your way: 

  1. Always listen to mom and dad, even when they’re wrong
  2. Don’t rush the potty training thing; it will come
  3. Try and learn something from everyone, but be skeptical
  4. Don’t be in a hurry to grow up (see item two)
  5. Take care of your knees, hips and teeth…they can be replaced, but the original equipment is good stuff
  6. Look for boys like your dad…
  7. …then make em put in the time
  8. Be kind to your little brothers and sisters, because they are the only ones you can count on for life
  9. Surround yourself with fun people and ditch the gloomy Gus’s…they’re poison
  10. Everything changes, so don’t fear it; make it work for you

So there you go.  I’ll let you get back to crying and pooping and eating.  Come see me in twenty or thirty years and I’ll get you caught up on your family heritage.  Just don’t wait too long because my hips, knees and teeth are failing fast.

--Grandpa Mike