Dear Juliana: This is your Uncle John, your Mom’s cousin.

When you were baptized, I was in a somewhat self absorbed state and missed the event. Although this isn’t the first time I’ve missed important family functions, it was one (of three) I regret the most. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to be there, it was because I made a mistake with my calendar. Hopefully by the time you’re putting stuff in calendars, your computers and phones and other devices will have the ability to not just record your own input but recognize a possible human error by cross referencing semantically related points of data in your world.

Over the next 20 years, many different awesome things will happen to both us. Sometimes we’ll be living close to each other and get to tell each other about those awesome things that happened, and other times we’ll have to wait for a big family event like Christmas or Easter to hear about them. But what about in between? How can we make sure we somehow get to do the silly things, the little things, the big adventures? Your mom and I didn’t get to grow up together, and all our interactions for my first 18 years were through stories about each other as told by parents and other cousins. I think you and I should have a different experience together. This book represents that different idea.

This book is one big I.O.U., a book of common experiences revolving around spoiling you as much as possible. Here’s how we’ll make this work:

  • You have 10 I.O.U. cards for a total of 10 days, one a year for 10 years.
  • Each I.O.U. card corresponds to an entire day of me catering to your every whim, capricious or not. There are no restrictions as to when you can use them during the year.
  • For logistical purposes, you have to give me 2 weeks notice when you invoke the card so I can make any necessary preparations.
  • I am obliged to respond within 24 hours of receiving the notice with a phone call (or any voice equivalent). Every card has a theme with suggestions, and we can discuss how best to address each theme.
  • If a year goes by and the card remains unused, you can always invoke it in a different year, but only one card per year.
  • For the purpose of family peace, all activities must must be mom and dad approved as long as you are under 18.
  • At the end of each IOU day, we’ll take a glorious picture to commemorate the day and we’ll put it next to the card in the book.

10 promises preface | Uncategorized