To my new granddaughter, Diane Dorothy, I say welcome to the world. Welcome into the Van Treeck and Lauer families. Kathleen and Gerry-your mom and dad-have wanted you for the longest time and now, suddenly, you're here. All 5 pounds, 10 ounces of you. None of us can get over how beautiful, cute, precious and darling you are. I've heard you described over and over that way by family members, friends, well-wishers and complete strangers. Everybody believes you are very special, including me, who loves you very, very much.
Being your new grandfather I would like to give you some advice and comments about your future. It will be a rich future because you have a mother and father who are completely devoted to you.
After all, your parents went through an awful lot to bring you into their lives. The adoption process in this country is tough, with the adoptive couple's finances being checked, plus their legal backgrounds and personal histories. Lawyers are hired and all kinds of laws are involved. The paperwork is onerous. And none of that prepares you for waiting for a child. In the case of your parents, Diane, they waited for five long years to find you. There were a lot of dreams and disappointments along the way. But they persevered and didn't let their dreams be taken away. And then they found out about you.
Now that you've arrived, you can see and feel the fulfillment in their lives. Your mom, Kathy, is a giving person. She has a heart that is so large and so willing to give to others that I often fear she will be hurt because of her openness and sensitivity. But she's managed to survive 38 years of living and now has you. You've made your mother a complete person, so you've already made your mark in this world.
Then, there's Gerry, your father. There's not a more loyal, principled, moral person alive. Gerry is one in a million. He is a 250-pound giant who has always loved contact sports and yet is one of the gentlest men I have ever known. He is so special and even though he beats me at golf too often, I consider him a dear, dear friend. So you've got two wonderful parents who love you very much and that is so important. Love, you see, true love is really very special and as you get older and possibly have your own children, you'll see how wonderful true love can be. But you have come to your mom and dad at a very wonderful time and you have been born free in this great nation where you can pursue your dreams and be just about anything you want to be: a physician, an airline pilot, an investment banker, a nurse or teacher.
The possibilities are endless. Nowadays, every avenue is open to women, so don't be afraid to dream and then make your dreams come true. Give 110% every day and be involved in just about everything you can be involved in. Be the most enthusiastic and positive person you can be and don't let others determine your moods. It's your life, your career and your dreams, and nobody owns you. Your most rigid and exacting critic will be yourself, so set your standards high. Don't strive for mediocrity; strive to be the best. Too many individuals go through life letting things happen to them. They enjoy being bystanders and don't get on the field of play. But that's where the action is, where you'll have incredible experiences, some good, some bad. You'll meet some amazingly wonderful people. Furthermore, don't be afraid to ask for help along the way. People basically enjoy helping others and I hope you will, too, as others come to you for guidance and assistance.
There are so many other things, of course, and one of them is honesty and integrity. Be truthful and forthright in everything you do. Cheaters and liars are really losers and cynics. They demean others and bring them down to their level of lost dreams and cheapness. Don't get near people of this ilk and if they come near you, get away from them as fast as you can.
On the other hand, don't be afraid to emulate and copy those who demonstrate qualities of honesty, loyalty and integrity. Those basic traits are still the qualities that make all the difference in the world and are so admired by everybody. Your integrity is the most important thing you have and never, but never, let anyone take it away from you.
Be loyal. Loyal to your friends, loyal to your parents, loyal to your colleagues and, most importantly, loyal to yourself. That's what really counts. Don't let yourself down. You will be your own worst critic and that's as it should be, but don't be too hard on yourself. Give yourself some space once in a while so you can look around from time to time and enjoy the world. Also, enjoy who you are and what you stand for and what you believe in, and don't waver or give up your ideals because that is what makes you special and so wonderful.
There's something else I want to touch on. Don't be afraid to love and cherish this great nation we live in and the bountiful blessings that have been bestowed upon us. Freedom of religion comes to mind as well as the freedom to be any person you want to be. Be thankful you were born in the United States of America and be thankful that you are now part of a family that will love you forever no matter what happens.
You've already made your mom and dad happy by just being who you are: a healthy, happy baby full of energy. It's as simple as that and I've discovered over the years that sometimes the most simple things are often the most profound.
That's about it, Diane. I'll be here if you need me, as will your parents. You've got a wonderful life ahead of you, full of promise, adventure and opportunity. I'm confident you will do well.