Dear Jack: Your Personal Decision to Wear a Screen-Printed Necktie Long-Sleeve T-Shirt for Your School Picture, as Opposed to One of the Fancy Dress Shirts Nonna Bought You

6 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

At the end of the summer, Nonna lucked out and was able to buy a collection of brand-new dress shirts for you from a store that was going out of business back in Fort Payne, Alabama where I grew up. Several of these shirts were originally worth around $60, but she got them for much, much cheaper.

I had just recently explained to you that when you get older, like around 6th grade, you’re going to want to transition to wearing more shirts like this. It’s just part of that more mature transition into Junior High. But that’s still 5 years from now.

Naturally, Mommy brought them all out of your closet the night before Picture Day at school, so you could decide which one you’d wear for your photo. You were curious about the idea of wearing a bowtie; the one you wore from exactly a year ago when we were in San Diego for your Uncle Jake’s wedding.

But there was hesitation on your part. Apparently, there was part of the discussion I had missed prior to walking into your bedroom that night.

Then I saw Mommy reach back in the closet for one more option.

I watched your blue eyes grow big once she pulled out a black long-sleeve t-shirt with a screen-printed image of a necktie; it was a one she ordered online from Crazy 8.

“What you do you think, Daddy?” Mommy asked me.

My response was instant:

“Even though we’ve got much nicer shirts for him, if he finds his current identity in this fake necktie shirt, I say let the kid be happy.”

So last Thursday morning before you left for school, I snapped a picture of you in that shirt.

Hey, there are will be plenty of opportunities for you to wearing your classy, Southern dress shirts from Nonna. Picture Day just wasn’t one of them.

At least not this year.

Love,

Daddy

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