10 years old.
One of the gifts that Aunt Dana and Uncle Andrew got you for your 10th birthday was a Barbie doll little boy who amazingly looks like you!
It’s as if Mattel used you as the model for the doll!
And like Mommy pointed out, he’s even wearing a tank top; which is mainly what you wear anytime the weather is warm.
Seriously- the hair, the eyes, the smile… the personality!
What a cool present to receive for your birthday!
You explained to me that your Jack doll has been playing alongside your Fortnite action figures.
Makes perfect sense!
4 years, 7 months.
As the holiday season has now begun, you have had so much fun already, spending time with your cousins. You got to spend the night with your cousin Darla, who just turned 5.
I know that whatever the two of you got into, you were having a blast.
I am really looking forward to the holidays and all the time we will spend with family; this year, more than ever. I’ve even packed board games for us to play during Thanksgiving.
However, I noticed all the character pieces are missing in our Monopoly set. I think you might have something to do with that…
When you turned 9 years old, a year ago, your main gift was your first pet ever- a Syrian hamster.
We had quite a learning curve those first couple of months, trying to figure out A) how to keep it alive, B) how to keep it happy, and C) how to get you to be happy about having a hamster; despite the responsibilities that come with having a pet, as it took time for us to tame an animal and have him get used to us.
But these days, we are well-versed in how to accomplish all three of those things.
Now, Alpha (AKA: “Mr. Sniffer”), is a solid member of the Shell family.
It wasn’t easy at first- in fact, it was pretty terrifying.
But I am proud of our decision to stick with it; and to not return him to the pet store during those first 30 days when we could have.
Having a hamster has been a good thing for you and our family.
4 years, 7 months.
Your brother has started spending through some of his gift cards he got for his birthday. One of the things he bought was a Baby Yoda stuffed animal.
At the same time, we just got new floors in the downstairs to replace the carpet and we sold our furniture to make room for new furniture, to go with our new floor.
So you and your brother have been playing with your toys on top of quilts and blankets.
You had your brother bring down your doll bed. However, I don’t recall seeing any of your dolls in the bed: Only Baby Yoda!
I’m pretty sure you’ve spent more time taking care of Baby Yoda than your brother has; as if you adopted Baby Yoda from him!
10 years old!
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.