Dear Jack: I’ve Been Writing You Letters Every Week for Over 10 Years, But You’re Not Even 10 Years Old Yet…

9 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

It was May 2010 that I decided to start writing you at least one letter every week, to serve as a thumbnail of what was going on in your life that week, or at least what was going on in my head as your dad that week.

I should point out that in May 2010, you weren’t born yet. Instead, that was the month that Mommy and I found out we were going to be having a baby.

You weren’t born until November. So for over a decade, I have been creating and growing this collection of journal entries to document each week of your life.

I have told you about it. You are aware I do this.

But later, when you are older, I think you will truly be able to appreciate having an archive of your own life, written by your dad.

Love,

Daddy

 

Dear Jack: I Wrote a Song about You This Week- “That Boy’s Been Growing Up on Me”

9 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

This week has been unexpectedly emotional for me. You’ve been away on vacation in Florida with Nonna and Papa, as well as Aunt Dana and Uncle Andrew, and your cousins.

I didn’t expect to miss you so much. After all, you’re like 9 year and a half years old now. You’re not a little boy anymore.

And that’s exactly why it hit me so hard…

While I couldn’t possibly be prouder of the boy you’ve become, I’ve been coming to terms with the fact that those days of you being a little boy are gone.

For the past 4 days, I have been journaling my thoughts and feelings through a song I have been writing; so that I myself can better understand what I am going through right now.

Today, I was finally able to record the song; one of the few times I was able to do so without crying.

And when I say crying, I mean bawling.

It helped when your Aunt Dana told me today that you are currently taking a break from swimming in the ocean to watch WWE Wrestling.

You don’t treat your stuffed animals like they are real anymore, but you still believe WWE Wrestling is real. I can settle for that. You’re not fully grown up yet.

I love you, Jack.

That boy’s been growing up, that boy’s been growing up on me

He shouldn’t be enough, he shouldn’t be old enough

It doesn’t seem, it doesn’t seem

Those Hot Wheels have all raced away

Like the friends of Thomas the Train

And now I’m missing that boy who went with them

He’s growing up

Those stuffed animals all used to be real

But they’re starting to all disappear

And now my baby boy, first born bundle of joy, is growing up on me

That boy’s a part of me, that boy’s a part of me

My son is growing up

Holding on to memories, never letting go of these

My son is growing up

It takes so much for me to ever cry these days

So it’s funny how these words are drenched in tears

A father’s love for his only son is all it takes

To get me here

And now I’m here

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: You Need Me in Your Life and I Know It

4 years, 1 month.

Dear Holly,

You and I have a special “father and daughter” bond. It’s undeniable.

By nature, I am not a needy person. I don’t “need” people to “like” me to feel good about myself. Otherwise I would be like Michael Scott or Andy Bernard on The Office.

I can accept that the world doesn’t revolve around me.

But I will admit- you have an effortless way of making me feel wanted and needed.

It’s in subtle ways, like when you come home from school everyday, you immediately run to my “office” at the kitchen table and yell “Daddy!” before engaging in a monologue about whatever accidentally hilarious story you have to tell me about school that day.

You make it too easy to love you! Way too easy.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: You’re Not Too Old to Want to Hold My Hand

9 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

Now that you’re 9 and a half, it’s an age where I am doing my best to be mindful of sorting out the balance between what’s too “babyish” for you, versus what is inappropriate because it’s too heavy on the PG-13 side of things.

You surprised me recently with your actions, not your words. You taught me that you are still at a crucial age when you want to hold my hand, as a symbol of feeling close to me during father-and-son activities.

A couple of weeks ago when our family was at the beach, you and I had a daily routine of wading out into the crashes waves. You reached out for my hand the moment we took the first step into the water- every time.

But that makes sense. Those were pretty rough waves.

However, this past weekend I insisted on taking a walk at a nearby trail; just you and me.

The moment we stepped out of the Jeep, simply stepping off the asphalt of the parking lot onto the grass, well before the trail even began, you insisted:

“Here… Daddy.”

You reached out your hand to me and didn’t let go during that whole hour-long, very sweaty, hike.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: You Love Serving Coffee and Tea to Everyone!

4 years, 1 month.

Dear Holly,

Growing up, I would see in movies, TV shows, and commercials where the young girl character just loved having tea parties. I always thought, “That’s not really how little girls act. They don’t really like to pretend to have tea…”

But now that you’re here, I have learned it’s not just some random cliche.

It’s real.

Here’s proof from our recent family vacation to Florida.

Pretty much all of your play time when we were in our condo was devoted to you carefully and meticulously arranging all the coffee pods on a plate, then serving them to us.

This past weekend, while we went out for time at Cracker Barrel, you saw a $4 set of miniature tea cups and dishes.

Mommy and I couldn’t say no.

Then back at the house as soon as you got home, you spent a solid 30 minutes pretending to pour tea in the tiny cups. I sneaked up and pretending to quickly gulp one down.

I loved the look on your face, as I could easily read exactly what was going through your head:

“Okay, so that is good that Daddy drank the tea and liked it, but now I do need to make some more so there is enough to refill that cup…”

That is what it’s like to be a 4 year-old little girl.

Love,

Daddy