Dear Jack: Teaching You to Beat Me at Monopoly

10 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

This holiday season, I have officially introduced you to the classic board game of Monopoly. Sure, we’ve always owned a set at our house, but it’s simply served as an easy way for you and your sister to keep each other entertained when Mommy and I need to get work done.

Prime example: When the Covid shutdown happened earlier this year.

But I decided to spend some of my own money on a nice Monopoly set for us to actually play together, by the rules.

It is no surprise to me that I’ve only beat you at Monopoly once so far.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Decorating the Christmas Tree

10 years.

Dear Jack,

I think it was you who was most excited about putting up the Christmas tree this year. Granted, as Mommy pointed out, we have a ridiculously small tree for a family of four.

But still, it’s still big enough to (barely) fit all the ornaments we’ve collected together as a family.

You were so proud to be able to help me, as I had to climb up into the attic to bring down on the Christmas decorations.

Notably, our Christmas tree is mainly weighed down by all the ornaments you’ve made over the years.

Your sister has some catching up to do!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 10th Birthday

10 years old!

Dear Jack,

This year, I’ve become fully aware of this paradox: When you were young, part of me longed to see you as a grown boy; and now that you are a grown boy, part of me longs to relive those days with you as a young boy and toddler.

It has deeply, emotionally affected me this year.

With me being on a furlough for a couple of months due to Covid, I not only had more quality time at home with you than I normally would, but I also had more focused time to write new songs.

Through the nearly 2 week process of writing and eventually recording my song about you, “That Boy’s Been Growing Up on Me”, I broke down crying nearly every time I sang it.

In fact, the finished recording was one of the few exceptions where I didn’t break down crying.

As I myself am now only 5 months away from turning 40, I rarely lend myself to emotional responses. I  have evolved into a person who rarely utilizes access to my “emotional control box”. Largely, my quality of life has undeniably improved since practicing this habit over the past couple of years.

But the one exception is my family; especially in regards to us all getting older.

I couldn’t be prouder of the 10 year-old version of you. I got exactly what I wanted.

I’m nostalgic for the present, like it’s the past.

Happy 10th Birthday, Jack! To say “I love you” is a laughable understatement.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Nostalgic for the Present

4 years, 5 months.

Dear Holly,

I feel like I have traveled back in time from the present, to better appreciate “the good ole days” right now with our family.

Especially being able to work from home since this past March, I have been blessed with much more quality time with you.

I appreciate our family’s life together so much now, in a way I never could before, that it’s like I am nostalgic for the present, before it even becomes the past.

Maybe I am seeing life in a new perspective now that I’ve only got 6 months left of my 30s.

I cherish my life with you. I’m not letting it slip by.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

Dear Jack: You Surprised Me By Wearing a T-Shirt of Me to School

9 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

When we were at Nonna and Papa’s house a couple of weeks ago, I found one of my old t-shirts I was given while I was a teacher in Thailand in 2003.

It has a sketch of my face with my name in Thai underneath.

I had no clue you brought the shirt back with us to Tennessee.

But this past Monday, you surprised me when you were wearing it as you were getting ready for school.

I love the randomness of how you wore a t-shirt of your dad to school- and yet only one of your classmates even asked about it!

Love,

Daddy