Dear Jack: I’m Watching You Grow Up on Autopilot

6 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

In the midst of me raising a very demanding (by default) infant daughter in addition to you, it’s both inevitable and regrettable, as your Daddy, that I can’t be more involved in all the little details of your life. I wish I could, but then I couldn’t be there for your sister in the ways she desperately needs me in these early developmental years.

I miss the candid moments that we used to have, back when you were an only child. Being an older brother has placed you in a situation where you have to be more independent of me.

In some ways, that’s a good thing. But I admit, I experience guilt in this, even if I’m doing the right thing by constantly minding to your sister, which gives Mommy the ability to focus on household daily chores, like preparing dinner and doing laundry.

It sort of leaves you out of the equation; to fend for yourself.

Right now, though, I’m thinking of John Mayer’s song, “Daughters”, where he talks about sons:

Boys, you can break
You’ll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong
And boys soldier on

I guess that’s just the way I have to look at it.

But just know I really do miss our Saturday afternoon hikes through the woods, exploring alongside the creeks. I miss our one-on-one time.

I do the best I can to spend time with you alone, but it’s very difficult with your sister being the age she is.

So that’s why I feel like I’m watching you grow up on autopilot. I see this picture I took of my son a few weeks ago, and think, “Man, he’s starting to look like a teenager!”

Granted, that’s still several years off, but I do hope I can get back there, to when you and I had more time together. Just you and me.

Love,

Daddy

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Dear Holly: Your 1st Easter (and 4 Different People’s Birthday Celebrations!)

11 months.

Dear Holly,

With your 1st birthday coming up next Monday, Mommy and I decided to celebrate your birthday in Alabama with my side of the family; while we were already in town for Easter.

Once we arrived in Fort Payne, we immediately stopped at the Easter Egg Hunt that 1st Baptist Church has each year. Honestly, you weren’t too concerned with all the eggs in the grass.

Instead, you were just as happy to simply look beautiful in your dress, and have anyone come over and tell you what a pretty little girl you are.

Granted, your brother Jack was the complete opposite. Actually, I feel a little bit bad about how fiercely he dominated the egg hunt for his age division. He is so competitive that it was more about “winning”. Yet still, I was very proud of him, because I feel he learned that from me.

For lunch, we met Uncle Al and Sharon at the only restaurant we ever go to: Toke. With its Thai and Japanese cuisine, everyone in our family can eat there; including your Daddy, the manly vegan.

That’s when the early birthday presents started appearing for you. Plus, Nonna’s birthday was earlier that week, and mine is actually today.

In what turned out to be a major coincidence, your cousin Calla was invited to a Pokemon birthday party. When the birthday boy’s family heard that you and Jack were in town, they invited our family as well.

Then back at Nonna and Papa’s house afterwards, it was time for a few more gifts…

So yeah, there was a lot of celebrating to be done: Not only Easter, but 4 birthdays!

With Easter moving around the calendar every year (last year it was in March), I imagine that typically, Easter will be about a month before all our birthdays; most years.

But as for your first Easter, it got to be extra special because our family got to begin celebrate your birthday early. Just a few more days now for your actual birthday…

Love,

Daddy