Dear Holly: You Won a Prize for Having the Best Handwriting in Your Class!

6 years, 8 months.

Dear Holly,

You came home from school so proud last week, when you announced to Mommy and me that your teacher gave you a special prize for having the best handwriting in the class.

Apparently, your teacher has been paying attention to the details of your work at school… as you clearly have, as well.

The prize? A big pouch of candy: Sour Punch Spooky Straws… of course!

I suppose the taste of victory is so much sweeter (and more sour?) when you get candy to recognize your habit of leaning a bit toward perfectionism in everything you do.



Dear Jack: Further Proof You’re Probably Going to Be an Engineer

12 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

I have been saying your entire life, how I believe you are going to be an engineer when you grow up.

And each year that passes, I see further evidence of this.

We are at the point now to where when Mommy orders furniture that requires assembly, you are the one who is smart enough to figure out how to assemble it… and just as important, you actually enjoy the challenge of it.

This past week, as I went to my office for the final time in my career, since we all work from home now. I brought home some 3-D puzzles I found there.

For me, it would have been a nightmare to build the puzzle. For you, I think it was the highlight of your week!




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.