Dear Jack: Despite All Your Rage, You Are Still Just a Boy in a Cage…

12 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

Sunday afternoon, it was beautiful outside. Everyone from our neighborhood was hanging out in the cul-de-sac.

As Mommy and I were catching up with the neighbors across the street from us, who we have barely seen since winter started, a lady walking her dog casually came up and joined the conversation.

Pretty quickly, she asked us, “What’s up with those boys in the cage that I just walked by? Why are they in there?”

I immediately responded, with not an ounce of shame, “Yeah, that’s our son there in the cage. My understanding is that one of the neighbors around here was getting rid of their old dog crate, so they had it sitting out by the front of the street. So now, our son and one of his friends are playing in it.”

She felt a little awkward by my response, but decided to stick around for the fellowship. A few minutes later, she looked back at the cage situation, and announced, “Oh! Now there is a little girl in a pink Jeep who is running into the cage with the boys in it…”

I cut her off by saying, “Yeah, that’s our little girl. Looks like she is seeking revenge on her older brother, and he is taunting her to do it.”

Your sister also was throwing a tennis ball at the cage as hard as she could too.

It was like watching a kitten taunt two bulldogs chained to a tree.




Dear Holly: I Bought a Mystery Machine T-Shirt Because of You!

6 years, 9 months.

Dear Holly,

I happened to randomly take you to Kohl’s to help me shop for some cool new t-shirts for the new year. I chose one with Bob Dylan, to which you commented, “He looks a little bit bumpy.” I didn’t even bother with a follow-up question, as somehow, I think I knew what you meant.

You then saw one featuring The Mystery Machine, along with that famous group of crime-solving teens and their mostly English-speaking Great Dane.

Later than day, due to your brother wanting to binge-watch Young Sheldon, our household ended up getting HBO Max. As I apathetically scrolled through the offerings of the streaming channel, I noticed Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! was included in our subscription.

It didn’t take long before you and I started binging the TV show, based on the t-shirt you chose for me at Kohl’s.

Your immediate observation after the first episode was this: “Daddy, Shaggy is the most scared out of everyone, but he still tries to have fun.”

Yes, as a 6 year-old, you accurately described what it means to be an Enneagram 6 with a dominant 7 wing; which happens to be my Enneagram type, as well.

All because you picked out that t-shirt for my to buy at Kohl’s!



Dear Jack: Your New, Very Own Drill

12 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

Last week I was saying how Mommy bought you a certain drill you need, to be able to make it easier to rebuild Hot Wheels cars. Well… it arrived this week in the mail, and you love it!

It was immediately clear how proud you were to officially own your first power tool. You carefully read all the instructions and make sure it was properly charged before you used it.

This past weekend largely consisted of either you at the kitchen table using your drill, or you out in the driveway painting the cars you are custom rebuilding.

I feel a feeling this is more than phase.



Dear Holly: “All I Care About is Peace and Quiet…”

6 years, 9 months.

Dear Holly,

This past weekend, Mommy and I had our annual “Night Out in Nashville/Get Our Taxes Done the Next Day at H&R Block” event, while Nonna and Papa drove up from Alabama to stay home with you and your brother.

Mommy and I went to go see Adam Sandler perform at the Bridgesone Arena. It was one of the best days I have ever spent with Mommy in the fifteen years we have been together. I am so grateful that we were able to go do that.

Nonna always does a great job of proactively sending Mommy and me photos of what’s going on while we’re away.

My favorite picture of you was of you with the “Daddy puppet” you made at church last Father’s Day.

The caption read, “All I care about is peace and quiet.”

Of course, that was you doing your impression of me.

I feel honored that you represented me so well!

It has been no secret in our family, that since becoming a certified Enneagram coach back in November 2021, I have been on an ongoing adventure of self-discovery, as well as helping us learn more about each other.

Something I pray every morning is, “Help our family to find ways to show each other love, in the ways that we invididually need it.”

You have overhead me talk about it enough, that you know that I am an Enneagram 6; and that specifically, I constantly crave a sense of social security- which for me, is presented in the form of the people around me having fun in a calm and collaborative way.

This past week, you and your brother also brought more insight to me that I had never realized on my own:

“Mommy gets mad when her work is stressful. But you never get mad at work; no matter how crazy things get. Instead, you get mad when people around you are upset and not happy.”

This is 100% accurate. Being an Enneagram 6, I am the problem-solver, the trouble-shooter, and the stabilizer.

Work only stresses me out when there’s not enough problems for me to solve, because I am wired to provide solutions and calmness to the everyday chaos I am presented with. I truly enjoy what I do for a living.

However, it’s when I’m not working that I am most likely to get stressed out; as I am the one in our family who is constantly trying to make everyone feel happy and connected with each other.

I learn so much from you about myself! Thank you, Holly.



Dear Jack: You are Now “Rebuilding” Hot Wheels… for Fun!

12 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

This past Christmas, you were obsessed with doing model cars. That has now transcended into you taking apart your old Hot Wheels cars, swapping their wheels, and completely repainting both the exterior, as well as the interior.

Just like with all your pursuits of the years, like last year’s Taekwondo, and archery the year before, Mommy and I are all in to help support your newest interest and hobby.

This past weekend, I bought you several cans of spray paint, and Mommy bought you a certain drill you need to be able to take the cars apart much easier.

You are a true Enneagram 4. You are so creative.

Mommy and I finally realized this week, that when you get “too much extra energy”, it’s not necessarily because you need to go outside.

Instead, it’s often because you need a creative activity to work on indoors.

I’m sure I’ll bring it up again later once we finish it, but I bought your sister a Star Wars puzzle this week for she and I work on. So far, you have accomplished more of putting the puzzle together, than your sister and me combined.

I love to see your creativity in action!