Dear Jack: You’re Not Too Old to Want to Hold My Hand

9 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

Now that you’re 9 and a half, it’s an age where I am doing my best to be mindful of sorting out the balance between what’s too “babyish” for you, versus what is inappropriate because it’s too heavy on the PG-13 side of things.

You surprised me recently with your actions, not your words. You taught me that you are still at a crucial age when you want to hold my hand, as a symbol of feeling close to me during father-and-son activities.

A couple of weeks ago when our family was at the beach, you and I had a daily routine of wading out into the crashes waves. You reached out for my hand the moment we took the first step into the water- every time.

But that makes sense. Those were pretty rough waves.

However, this past weekend I insisted on taking a walk at a nearby trail; just you and me.

The moment we stepped out of the Jeep, simply stepping off the asphalt of the parking lot onto the grass, well before the trail even began, you insisted:

“Here… Daddy.”

You reached out your hand to me and didn’t let go during that whole hour-long, very sweaty, hike.



Dear Holly: You Love Serving Coffee and Tea to Everyone!

4 years, 1 month.

Dear Holly,

Growing up, I would see in movies, TV shows, and commercials where the young girl character just loved having tea parties. I always thought, “That’s not really how little girls act. They don’t really like to pretend to have tea…”

But now that you’re here, I have learned it’s not just some random cliche.

It’s real.

Here’s proof from our recent family vacation to Florida.

Pretty much all of your play time when we were in our condo was devoted to you carefully and meticulously arranging all the coffee pods on a plate, then serving them to us.

This past weekend, while we went out for time at Cracker Barrel, you saw a $4 set of miniature tea cups and dishes.

Mommy and I couldn’t say no.

Then back at the house as soon as you got home, you spent a solid 30 minutes pretending to pour tea in the tiny cups. I sneaked up and pretending to quickly gulp one down.

I loved the look on your face, as I could easily read exactly what was going through your head:

“Okay, so that is good that Daddy drank the tea and liked it, but now I do need to make some more so there is enough to refill that cup…”

That is what it’s like to be a 4 year-old little girl.



My New Hamster Dad T-Shirt: Fist Bumping “Best Friends for Life”

Over six months ago now, back on November 16th, 2019, my son turned 9 years old. To my own surprise (still to this day), I agreed to let him get a male Syrian hamster as a pet.

Obviously, that meant that on November 16th, 2019, my son didn’t become the proud new owner of a pet hamster. Instead, I became the extremely reluctant new owner of a pet hamster.

After the first couple of weeks, during the initial 30 days period where the pet store would allow us to get a full refund, my son officially decided he wanted to take his birthday present. My son wasn’t attached and he didn’t want the responsibility.

But I just couldn’t do that to the little guy… I am referring to the hamster, here.

So I did some research on YouTube and learned what I needed to know to be a good hamster dad.

I bought a 20 gallon aquarium, instead of the stupid plastic toy one we originally bought. I taught myself how to hand-tame the hamster. I learned the importance of helping the hamster live in a feng shui environment; regularly placing new cardboard boxes in the his tank, and hiding food throughout his home.

And of course, I take him out every evening when when he wakes up, to play with him. (Syrian hamsters are nocturnal.)

To me, it’s undeniable I have become the best hamster dad in the state of Tennessee.

So it only made sense that I should use some of my “birthday budget” (my wife and I are faithful Dave Ramsey followers) to buy a t-shirt to express how proud I am to be a hamster dad.

On Amazon, I found this really cool one that has a man and a hamster fist bumping, with the caption reading, Best Friends for Life.

There’s a built-in joke in there: Syrian hamsters typically only live to be 2 or 3 years old.

So my goal is to celebrate these next couple of years and give this hamster the best life a hamster can have!

If you want to buy a hamster t-shirt like mine, just click here to find the best deal on Amazon, like I did.

Dear Holly: Your Sweet Freckles

4 years, 1 month.

Dear Holly,

Last week when we were at the beach in Florida, you and Mommy took some pictures while your brother and I played rough in the waves.

One of the most popular photos that I posted on Facebook from our trip was this one of you; which undeniably shows off your freckles.

It’s a given that your freckles easily compliment your sweet personality and your energy.

As prominent as your freckles are at this point, I imagine they will remain for years to come.

I love it that my 4 year-old daughter has freckles.

Sweet freckles.



Dear Jack: Seeing Your Friend Sophie, After 5 and a Half Years

9 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

You first met Sophie when you were 8 months old and she was 7 months; back in 2011. We had just moved back to Nashville, and the two of you were in the same infant class at Kindercare.

Eventually Sophie moved away to Alabama (where we had just moved back from). Over the years, we have been able to meet up with Sophie a few times in passing.

However, I didn’t realize it had been 5 and a half years since we saw Sophie last! Back then, the two of you had just turned 4 years old.

That means that more time has passed since you saw each other, than how old you were when you last saw each other.

It’s funny how you have known each other your entire lives, but neither of you really remember each other; other than perhaps from 5 and a half years ago.

But this is the tradition now, at this point; that we will continually meet up with Sophie, in passing- and that will be the thing you two know each other from at this point!