Dear Holly: Tastes Like Life Cereal?

6 years, 6 months.

Dear Holly,

Last Saturday morning while our family was hanging out at The Factory in Franklin, you and your brother wanted to get your designated treat at Urban Sips Sweets; a place your brother always likes to get shaved ice at.

Out of the dozens of flavors they have on the menu, you surprisingly chose “sour apple” for yours.

I had my reservations that you would even like it; especially when they had other options that seems more likely for a 6 year-old girl, like “cotton candy” or “birthday cake”.

But you confirmed that you were pleased with your choice of “sour apple”.

You told me, “Daddy, it tastes like Life cereal.”

I’m not sure how, but I’m just glad you liked it!




Dear Jack: Your First Official “Co-Ed” Birthday Party

12 years old.

Dear Jack,

This past Saturday was your 12th birthday party!

I think Mommy and I were a bit surprised when you told us that you wanted it to be at the gymnastics center where you do your American Ninja Warrior classes, instead of at our house like the past few years.

The initial thought was, “Is Jack too old to have a birthday party like that?”

“Will this concept work for a boy who is turning 12?”

“Will his friends dig it?”

But clearly, you knew what you were doing. All of your friends had the greatest time- it was clear to see.

I think something that made it work is that this was the first time you officially chose to invite friends who are girls your age to your birthday party.

And I couldn’t help but notice how a certain girl you invited was always next to you the entire time…

Pretty sure you had the coolest 12th birthday party of anyone at your school this year!



Dear Holly: Benefiting from Being the Younger Sister at Your Brother’s Birthday Party

6 years, 6 months.

Dear Holly,

I never gave it any thought, that you automatically would be getting to participate in your brother’s 12th birthday party, where most of the kids invited were in 6th grade; as compared to you, being in 1st grade.

You had so much fun being able to jump around on the bounce house and go down the slides. And I noticed how some of Jack’s friends made an effort to include you. That meant a lot to me.

And I know you definitely appreciated your brother giving you the leftover party favors, which included a variety of little figurines of puppies.

You have been playing with them nonstop since his party on Saturday!



Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 12th Birthday

12 years old!

Dear Jack,

It was exactly 12 years ago today that I officially became a parent for the first time, when you were born.

My immediate thought this morning was, “I have a 12 year-old son… does that make me old?”

Years from now, when I think back to you turning 12, I am going to remember how badly you wanted a dog.

And as much as I wish I had it in me to let you get a dog, I also know that our family is not at a place in life where we are ready for that kind of responsibility.

(It would ultimately be my dog; as I’m the only one in our house who is virtually always home.)

I know I disappointed you in that decision, but without even trying, I quickly gained your favor again.

For the past 2 and a half years, ever since the Covid Shutdown, I have been working with you to use a bow and arrow, as well as your Red Ryder BB gun. You have remained passionate and committed to improving your marksmanship.

When you mentioned that you would like a BB pistol, let’s just say it was undeniable that idea would have been immediately “shot down”, had I not vouched for you.

You have already been extremely careful and responsible in regards to handling your bow and your BB gun rifle ever since I began training you.

So while getting a dog would have been too much responsibility, you gladly settled for a slightly more powerful version of your Red Ryder BB gun.

To me, your new BB pistol is the perfect symbolic gift for your on your 12th birthday, the final year bridging childhood and your teen years.

I am so proud of you. I always am.

And as much as it has been an honor to raise you so far, I very much look forward to helping you grow into a man in the years coming up ahead.




Dear Jack: You Chose Me as Your Theme for “Wacky Day”?

11 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

I’m glad I could help you out this past week, as your school had a “Wacky Day” theme.

As I said goodbye to you that morning, I realized that you were wearing a t-shirt with my face on it.

Back in college, when I spent two summers teaching English in Thailand, I had a friend who had a t-shirt made featuring my face on it. Twenty years later, you ended up with it!

And a few Christmases ago, Aunt Dana and Uncle Andrew gave me some socks they had made… also with my face on it.

So yeah, I guess that made it pretty easy for you to dress up for Wacky Day!