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Step by Step.

My year-old nephew Dash took his first steps in June - shuffling cautiously at first across a stretch of lawn at my brother's home in Los Angeles, then, days later, frolicking with confidence down beaches and sand-strewn sidewalks in Hawaii, tiny fists raised in the air. So far, I've only seen this in photos and on FaceTime, so I couldn't be happier that he'll be hitting the streets of New York next, in just a few days.

Watching Dash on video this past weekend, I remembered these letters, written by astronaut Jerry Linenger to his fourteen-month-old son while living in space for a period of several weeks. In one, drafted just before Linenger returned to Earth, he writes, "I have an image in my mind of the time you took your first steps. I would move two steps away from you, leaving you standing and holding on, precariously, to the edge of the sofa. You would look at me with questioning eyes. Your eyes reflected what I am sure that you were asking yourself: 'Can I do this, or will I fall?' After I would encourage you with a reassuring word or gesture, you would muster up your courage, let go, and walk to me. 

Reporters keep asking me whether, after landing, I plan to get out of Atlantis on my own power or be carried off. I will be trying my best to follow in your footsteps, John. I will be giving it everything that I have to walk, or crawl, or do whatever it takes, but to do it on my own, just like you did."

I love that so much. Wishing you a brave, bold, adventuresome weekend.

Photo via Max's Instagram. Words via Letters of Note.

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