Dear Holly: Your 3rd Halloween, This Time as a Ladybug

2 and a half years old.

Dear Holly,

During the past week leading up to Halloween this year, your brother and I kept reminding you, “Okay, Holly, if you want to get candy, you have to wear your ladybug costume…”

Therefore, you practiced wearing it every couple of days, just to get a good feel for it.

We went on to teach you the secret special phrase, “Happy Halloween!”

You grasped the concept quite easily.

Your brother even made a special deal with you right before we went trick-or treating, that he would give you his chocolate candy if you would give him your sour candy.

At each new door in our neighborhood, you proudly smiled and said those magical words…

One neighbor even gave you an extra pack of M&M’s, simply because of your cuteness factor, after he already gave you two other packs.

And no, the Mickey Mouse Band-Aid on your favorite wasn’t because of a cut. That was just you being you.

Love,

Daddy

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Dear Holly: The Purple Popsicle Incident

2 years, 5 months.

Dear Holly,

Last night during dinner, you willingly ate all of the food Mommy had put on your plate, but you also made it clear throughout dinner that you had an agenda.

I heard you keep optimistically muttering, “I get purple Popsicle…”

This is an idea you crafted on your own. No one had even been talking about the frozen grape juice treats in the freezer.

But I suppose you had caught a glimpse of them at some point while Mommy was making dinner.

After finishing all the food on your plate, without saying a word, you just hopped out of your chair, ran over to the freezer, and brought me the Popsicle to unwrap for you.

No words were needed.

You know me. You know how to negotiate.

It was fair deal: Eat all your dinner, then just correctly assume I’ll let you have a Popsicle without any fuss.

You finished about half of your treat before you had your fill. Not to mention, you got a little concerned with you looked down and announced, “Oh no! Boo boo!”

I then explained that it was just part of the Popsicle that had dripped down on your leg.

You had become a purple mess.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: You’ll Be Turning 8 Years Old Next Month!

7 years, 10 months.

Now that it’s October, it occurred to me: You’ll be turning 8 next month!

Just like for your 5th birthday, you have chosen a family road trip to Destin, Florida; instead of a birthday party.

Considering that we’ll be staying for free using hotel points and that Chevy will be sending us a Suburban filled with a full tank of gas, we’ll actually be able to have a pretty amazing road trip cheaper than it would cost to throw you a birthday party around here in Nashville.

I think you’re making a very smart decision. Why have a party when you can have a road trip with the fam?

 

Dear Jack,

Love,

Daddy

Is Age 37 Too Young for a Midlife Crisis? 1st World Problems and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

I’m pretty sure that at age 37, I’m currently working my way through my midlife crisis. While at first mention, it might seem I’m getting mine out of the way a little early, consider that the average American man in Tennessee lives to be about 74 years old. So actually, I’m actually right on cue:

If I live that long, then my life is already halfway complete at this point.

Perhaps the biggest struggle I am sorting out is that, as of this year, I have officially found myself at the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Self-Actualization.

The way I like to explain how Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs works is this:

If and when you are able to overcome needs in each stage of your life, they are simply replaced by new ones that you didn’t have the privilege of addressing before.

Things started progressing quickly on my journey up the pyramid, in my mid-30s, when I discovered that it was always my decision whether I allowed other people to emotionally affect me. During that same time in my life, my wife and I had become completely debt-free, other than our mortgage.

Now in our late 30s, we have found ourselves in a new income level bracket; having both progressed our ways up the corporate ladder, in addition to the aforementioned pyramid.

I think the identity crisis I am going through right now is that we both work full-time jobs in offices, in addition to side jobs online. The money simply goes to paying off our mortgage, our kids’ college funds, and our retirement.

It’s just sort of demotivating to consider how much of our time is spent working- and how little time is spent together as a family.

Plus, I really want a Jeep Wrangler. I’ve been dreaming about owning one for years. But having gone years without a car payment, and knowing that buying my dream car would only take away from our savings and our ability to pay extra each month on our mortgage, I just wouldn’t be able to enjoy it anyway.

Clearly, I have first world problems. Yet according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, they are still legitimate challenges that I am sorting out in my life.

This is my midlife crisis at age 37.

Dear Holly: You Learned How to Jump This Week… While Wearing Your Brother’s Pokemon Underwear!

2 years, 2 months.

Dear Holly,

You’ve been on a mission this week. I’m not sure what inspired it. Maybe you’ve been seeing your friends do it at school, or maybe you’ve just simply developed your muscles to the point you can.

But after just a few days of practice, you finally taught yourself how to jump!

You’ve been leaping across our living room like a frog. You’ve even been making the sound: “Ribb-ribb-ribb-ribb…”

I had been noticing for the past couple of weeks that it looked like you were practicing. You just couldn’t figure out how to actually get your feet off the ground; as if it were supposed to be an automatic thing that happened after you squatted.

Your newly learned jumping skill just happened to be the same week that your brother talked you into wearing same of his old Pokemon underwear over your clothes.

Of all the cute clothes you have in your closet, you have decided that your brother’s old underwear are better choice.

Actually though, it reminds me of a conversation I was having with Mommy this week, how I myself have cool newer t-shirts that I never wear enough; as if I’m saving them for some special occasion that never happens.

Instead, I tend to wear only my old faded clothes when we’re home.

The irony is that for the people I love the most, I wear the worst clothes; and for the rest of the world, I have to put on a fashion show that no one is paying attention to.

So maybe you have inspired me to just start wearing what I really want to wear, even when it’s just our family at our house.

As for now, I have a feeling that it will just be the new norm to be seeing you jumping around the house in boys’ Pokemon underwear.

 

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: You Subliminally Taught Your Sister to Ask for Chips at Starbucks

7 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

There has been an unspoken rule in our family for years now:

When we go out as a family to run errands in the car, Mommy is always going to ask me, “Coffee?”

That’s her way of saying she wants to go to Starbucks. I always say yes; knowing that I might as well enjoy a cold brew.

And if Mommy and I are getting coffee, you know that you can ask for a snack:

“Can I get a croissant?”

And the answer is always yes:

“Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf of bread, will give him a stone? -Matthew 7:9

So after quietly watching that scenario play out weekend after weekend, your sister decided it was her time to join in on the action.

As our family made our way to the Nashville Sounds baseball game a couple of weeks ago, as we pulled up to the drive-through at Starbucks, you said the magic words:

“Can I get a croissant?”

Without missing a beat, your sister immediately jumped in:

“Chips?…”

It was equally amazing and hilarious how she already had a prepared request. She knew the place, she knew the cue, and she even knew the specific yet seemingly random food she wanted while the gettin’ was good.

However, you suggested to her that she get a croissant instead. In your experience and wisdom, you knew she might want some of yours once she saw it.

That was a good call. Both of you ended up with your own personal croissant.

I couldn’t help but notice though, she completely downloaded hers by the time you had taken the third bite of yours.

Well, I guess now it will be no surprise what will happen the time next our family ends up at Starbucks:

There will be two simultaneous requests:

“Croissant?…”

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: That Week You Refused to Take Off Your Brother’s Captain America Mask

2 years, 2 months.

Dear Holly,

It was a typical evening. Mommy picked you and your brother up from summer day camp. I had just driven back home from work.

As I began to help Mommy prep dinner, your brother mentioned something about taking you upstairs to see something.

Ten minutes later, I looked up to see that he had brought you back down, but decked out in his Captain America mask from his Halloween costume 3 years ago, with the accompanying shield.

You didn’t say a word, but I could tell it was important to you that I recognized that you were now Captain America.

Then during breakfast the next morning, I stepped into the kitchen to realize you were wearing the mask again; refusing to take it off while you ate breakfast.

A little bit later as Mommy was getting ready to leave for work, you added Mommy’s slippers to your superhero outfit. It somehow made sense.

This week will be remembered as the week you refused to take off your brother’s Captain America mask. And actually, your commitment to your superhero outfit actually inspired your brother:

He has been making some serious plans about making his return as an actor on YouTube again. Your brother asked me, “Hey Daddy, do you think when Holly’s a little older, we could do Jack-Man videos again?”

I instantly assured him that we could make our own superhero videos now if he wanted to.

But after he thought about it, your brother decided that instead of reprising the titular character of the 22 episode series, Jack-Man, he would like to try writing his own series.

So if this ends up really happening, I will be making the video, and he’ll be writing and starring in it. He’s also having Mommy look into buying him a lizard costume for it.

We’ll see where thing things goes. If it’s mean to be, it’ll be…

Love,

Daddy