Dear Holly: You Picked a Fresh Strawberry from the Garden and Instantly Ate It!

4 years old.

Dear Holly,

You have been interested in the strawberry plant that Nonna started growing this year. You knew that once the green strawberries turned red, they would be ready to eat.

I just happened to with you as you walked by and said, “Nonna, look, it’s a red strawberry!”

After wiping the dirt off of it with her shirt, she handed it to you to eat.

I didn’t believe that you would actually even try it. I was wrong…

Three quick bites later, the strawberry was gone. That is the freshest fruit you have ever eaten!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Jumping on the Trampoline with Papa, Like 2 Kids

9 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

I enjoy looking out the window and seeing you jumping on the trampoline with Papa; specifically now that he is retired.

It reminds me of 30 years ago when I was your age and he would jump with me.

I’m glad he enjoys jumping with you, because for some reason, after I stopped being a kid, it started making me too dizzy and disoriented to jump on a trampoline anymore.

When I see the two of you jumping together, it makes me think of the song I recently wrote, called “These are the Good Ole Days”.

It is important to recognize how fortunate we are, even if in the moment, it doesn’t seem like we are in the good ole days; because we probably are.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: You Love Helping Nonna Clear the Backyard

8  years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

Nonna and Papa have lived in their house for exactly 24 years, as of this month. I was just starting high school when we moved in.

But there are parts of that 2 acre lot that are just now being developed; largely inspired by the industrial grade playground that Papa has starting installing.

You have quickly assigned yourself the responsibility of helping to clear part of the land right beyond the playground; using a hatchet and helping maintaining the fire from the cleared brush.

What you don’t realize is that this is ultimately free child labor…

But to you, it’s nothing but fun and adventure!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Your Brand-New Industrial Grade Playground Swing

3 years, 5 months.

Dear Holly,

Having a Papa who works at a playground equipment factory means that you when visit your grandparents’ house in Alabama, you have access to a backyard playground that is above and beyond the norm.

Last weekend, the debut of your brand-new industrial grade swing was revealed.

You loved it so much, you just didn’t want to stop swinging in it.

At one point, you swung in it for a solid hour and a half before Mommy said it was time to go in for dinner.

You have the Cadillac of all playground swings for a 3 year-old girl!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: The Indoor Camp Out with Nonna and Papa

8 years, 3 months.

Of all Saturday nights for the power to go out for a couple of hours, it just happened to be the one where Mommy and I weren’t there.

We were staying at a hotel about 20 miles away, while Nonna and Papa were in town from Alabama to take care of you and your sister.

But the power outage was no problem- in fact, it was probably more exciting…

You and your sister got to camp out on the floor of the bedroom with Nonna and Papa; using blankets as sleeping bags, as you both held on to some of your favorite stuffed animals.

As you can see from this picture, your sister was proud to be a part of all the fun!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Yes, You Do Your Own Stunts!

2 years, 3 months.

Dear Holly,

After Nonna and Papa had spent the weekend at our house while Mommy and I went to see Kenny Chesney in Nashville and then painted the back porch the next day, it was time for them to head back Sunday afternoon.

So I announced to you, “Holly, it’s time to say goodbye to Nonna and Papa…”

You immediately ran over to them, smiled, then ran the other way- towards the sofa.

All weekend, you had been showing off your furniture climbing skills. As if to give them one more little talent show before they left, you climbed right up the arm of the couch, then rolled yourself over onto the cushion.

From there, you hopped down, ran towards Nonna and Papa, then continued to repeat the sofa climb.

After several cycles through, Papa finally grabbed you for the official goodbye hug.

Otherwise, I think you could have easily gone another 30 minutes through your self-imposed obstacle course in the living room.

It’s clear to me that right now, one of the things that is definitely a part of your identity is your fearlessness. You demonstrated this to Nonna and Papa all weekend.

If you could climb it, you did. If you could jump from it, you did.

And never once did you fall or get hurt. Papa even witnessed you teach yourself how to do a somersault, as you were running so fast across the living room floor that you stumbled, fell forward, then instinctively pushed yourself up after your legs had already flipped over your head.

I can’t help but think how this ends up translating to your interests and activities as you get a little older.

Gymnastics? Yeah, that’s a given.

But I’m even thinking indoor rock climbing. That may be the thing that’s actually challenging enough for you!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Your All-Business Approach to Having Nonna Take Care of You

1 year, 6 months.

Dear Holly,

Last weekend I took you and your brother to Alabama to spend time with Nonna and Papa, which gave Mommy a chance to get caught up on work back in Tennessee. I was there with you, of course, but I couldn’t help but notice you chose to rely on Nonna for your needs instead of me.

Whenever you got hungry or felt you needed a diaper change, you simply took it upon yourself to walk over to your travel bag, pull out what you needed, then make your way across the room to Nonna.

With no words necessary, you simply looked up at her without even a smile on your face; but with a diaper in one hand and a fruit pouch in another. It was simply implied:

“Alright, Nonna. You’re the head matriarch figure in this room so I guess I’m supposed to bring this stuff to you. Let’s go ahead and get to work then.”

It’s slightly fascinating to me that you’re wired to having the most mothering person in the room take care of your physical needs. Whenever it’s just you and me at our house, you obviously solely depend on me for these things. You know good and well I am more than qualified to serve you.

But apparently, I become the 2nd most qualified person for the job if Nonna is in the room.

Obviously, you’re not old enough to comprehend that Nonna is actually my Mommy.

That doesn’t matter. You just know you’re better off having her open your bag of organic cheddar crackers instead of me.

Or maybe, this is your way of giving your Daddy a break. Maybe you’re just that intuitive; to realize that Daddy wouldn’t mind being off-duty every once in a while…

Nah. 

You know me too well. I’m always on the clock for you.

Love,

Daddy