I figure I should enjoy calling you a baby name one last time, because today you’re taking a big step towards becoming a man.
(Cue Mom sobbing)
But in all honesty it is a big day for you and for the rest of us. I wanted to write you a letter even though I’m only in Provo because I wanted to do something for you and this felt like the most meaningful thing I could do. And besides, I always enjoyed writing you birthday letters on my mission so why stop now just because I’m home? When I first thought about writing this I thought to myself that really not much has changed in my life since I turned 18. And then I remembered my mission, and then school, and then moving out. So actually everything has changed since I was 18.
So why did I think nothing had changed since I was 18? I’ve been thinking about this for the last few days and here’s what I’ve come up with: when I was 18 I was actually ready to do all those things that I just listed off. I was ready to make the jump into college and mission; I may have still been in high school and living at home having mom fold my socks and bring me a warm lunch to school everyday*, but I was actually really ready to be in the next stage. And that wasn’t true a year earlier, but something had changed in that year to where I was ready and often dying to shake the dust off my feet and move on to the next grand adventure.
And now you’re about to do the same thing. In just a few months you’ll be moving on to the real independence that you’re already ready for.
So now I might cry a little bit with Mom and probably Dad too and here’s why. We love the little baby Hans that looks so much like a baby gorilla that he makes mama gorillas go crazy. We’ve all wished we were the pleasant little Hansie who always had something clever to say. We’re going to miss baby Hans. Luckily we have something good coming.
Since there is some measure of justice in the universe we get a new Hans and you get a new family. Instead of changing your diapers (which I’ve actually done) I, and the rest of the family, get to cheer you on and support you and watch you in a way we’ve never been able to do before. You’re going to do stunning things that will leave us all in awe, bragging about you to our friends. Hans, we all know you’re fantastic and I’m excited for the big changes you’ll see in the next year.
So as your older brother I use my power to dub thee a man. Goodbye to the baby Hans and hello to the man Hans. A small man perhaps, but a man nonetheless.
Hans, I love you. I think you know that, but I’ll remind you anyways.
*cue the sarcasm