It was a Monday like any other except for this time without caffeine. We only had one Diet Pepsi left in the fridge and when I slogged down the stairs to my office at 4:00am I decided I’d put in my official application for Husband of the Year 2019 and forego my morning ritual so that Jackie could enjoy that sweet caramel-colored nectar on her way to morning carpool.

A tall glass of water was going to be my morning fuel.


Several hours and a few dozen emails later I heard a faint knock on my office door. I figured it was Jackie saying good morning, and it was, and she did. But she brought someone with her and a caffeine deficiency was instantly the last thing I had on my mind.

You know how when you make an important layup in a basketball game (or at least this is what my basketball-playing friends have told me) that you have this boost of adrenaline that effortlessly carries you back to the other end of the court without even needing to use your legs?

That’s how I felt when I saw who Jackie brought into my office this morning.

My brand new niece Dixie James FaceTimed me from 1,588 miles away (it will take me 23 hours and 53 minutes to drive there if I leave right now) and wanted to talk.

And she had my undivided attention. I wanted to hear everything she had to say.

She’s not even 24 hours old and already has her own brand new iPhone and knows how to FaceTime so look out world we clearly have a prodigy on our hands. I know this is true because she was the only person on the call and I didn’t see anyone else in that room.

Even though she has her own phone her parents said SnapChat is still off limits which I fully agree with. She’s way too good for any of those trash social networks anyway so do not look for her on Twitter or Tik Tok cause sweet baby James is perfect and social media is the hardened gum on the underside of a diner table.

Anyway back to my very important conversation with sweet baby James…

Time STOPPED when I saw her for the very first time.

I couldn’t come up with anything to say other than welcome” so I just sat and listened with giant eyes of adoration until she finished telling me everything she’s learned in her 22 hours of life. It was glorious.

But now that I’ve had a few minutes to think, I do have some words for darling Dixie James. A quick list of rules to live by and mantras to incorporate into the next 100 years of your time on this spinning blue sphere.

10 Rules to Live by for Baby James

  1. Never let anyone make you feel less than. You are perfect. Period.
  2. Never question your ability to lift up a friend. If you’re anything like those parents of yours you’ll have charm for days. Use it to buoy up the people around you.
  3. Some people are dicks (you don’t know what this word means yet but you’ll learn it in Jr. High probably so please read this again then). Don’t associate with those people. Your time and spirit are way too precious.
  4. Celebrate every victory. Yours, your parent’s, your friend’s, and even stranger’s victories. There are enough Ws for everyone to have theirs.
  5. Be forever curious. Looking back, the years of my life when I believed I had it all figured out were the loneliest and most sorrowful of my life. Always seek knowledge and truth and express genuine interest in others.
  6. Treat yoself. You have an incredibly long life ahead of you and I expect you to take every single opportunity to do a nice thing for yourself. You can never be too good to yourself. You have your favorite uncle’s permission.
  7. Beto’s breakfast burritos are overrated. Your dad is going to try and convince you otherwise. He’s blinded because they’re forbidden in Kentucky. I’ll admit that a fresh carne asada can certainly hit the spot, but fresh” at Beto’s is like not-global-warming in 2019. When you’re ready for a real burrito shoot me a text and I’ll show you the way.
  8. When your parents ask you to vacuum the floor all they’re really asking is that you make the roller marks on the carpet. A paint roller without the pad works nicely. Now that I’m writing this I don’t think this is actually easier than vacuuming.
  9. By the time you’re sixteen all cars might be driving themselves so I don’t know if this is relevant but assuming you ever drive a car, don’t hijack your family van on prom night and take it to California for five days without any notice and then bring it back with a busted windshield and an empty gas tank. I know this is oddly specific but just trust me on this one, ok?
  10. You are perfect. Period.

That’s all I have for now, Dixie James. I’m so happy you’re here. The world is getting tough but with perfect little ones like you showing up, I know we’re going to be ok. I hope we can FaceTime again soon. xoxoxo

May 7, 2019