Dear Jack: You Apparently Now Have the Official Junior High Haircut…

12 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

This Saturday, we are going to do something we haven’t done since your sister was nearly a baby: We are going to get family photos made, by someone other than me, my tripod, and the self-timer on my camera.

Therefore, to prepare, I took you to Great Clips to get a fresh haircut, which you desperately needed. This time around, you mentioned to the lady cutting your hair that you wanted it a bit different compared to normal.

I didn’t follow what you were describing… something about a “flip”.

Another dad who was waiting for his son’s haircut happened to overhear the conversation and chimed in: “Just go to any junior high school around here. You’ll see it. I call it ‘the flippy-do’…”

You were very pleased with the results. Over the past week, I have silently observed how Mommy has been teaching you to use a curling iron, so that your bangs flip up the right way.

I think your new hairstyle only confirms the fact that you look like the boy version of the Chelsea doll.




Dear Jack: Despite All Your Rage, You Are Still Just a Boy in a Cage…

12 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

Sunday afternoon, it was beautiful outside. Everyone from our neighborhood was hanging out in the cul-de-sac.

As Mommy and I were catching up with the neighbors across the street from us, who we have barely seen since winter started, a lady walking her dog casually came up and joined the conversation.

Pretty quickly, she asked us, “What’s up with those boys in the cage that I just walked by? Why are they in there?”

I immediately responded, with not an ounce of shame, “Yeah, that’s our son there in the cage. My understanding is that one of the neighbors around here was getting rid of their old dog crate, so they had it sitting out by the front of the street. So now, our son and one of his friends are playing in it.”

She felt a little awkward by my response, but decided to stick around for the fellowship. A few minutes later, she looked back at the cage situation, and announced, “Oh! Now there is a little girl in a pink Jeep who is running into the cage with the boys in it…”

I cut her off by saying, “Yeah, that’s our little girl. Looks like she is seeking revenge on her older brother, and he is taunting her to do it.”

Your sister also was throwing a tennis ball at the cage as hard as she could too.

It was like watching a kitten taunt two bulldogs chained to a tree.




Dear Jack: When You Get to Hang Out with Mommy

12 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

Last Friday night while your sister and I were out at her school’s Father-Daughter Dance, you and Mommy went out for pizza at Frankie’s.

It is clearly so important to you that you get to spend one-on-one time with Mommy any chance you can.

I am always happy for you when this works out. As a family, we always do our best to create time and space for us all to hang out in pairs; as it is it is undeniable that we need to respect the dynamics of who we are when we are not all four together.

Also, that reminds me… the four of us do need to go to Frankie’s for dinner some time. Our family has never all been there at the same time!



Dear Jack: I’m Pretty Sure You’re the Smartest Person I Know

12 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

Like a cat bringing the headless bodies of mice and birds they caught and killed to the front door, you have this habit of strategically leaving your tests from school on the kitchen table;  always showing a 100 score, and often with a note from whichever particular impressed teacher graded it.

You never verbally announce to Mommy and me, “Hey, look at what I did. See how smart I am?”

Instead, you set the stage for us to notice and then to verbally announce to you, which we always do: “Jack, you are so smart! That is amazing. You are definitely more intelligent than I ever was. Very impressive!”

I have always told you that you are definitely smarter than I ever was. You have yet to deny my claim on that.




Dear Holly: You Said I’m Everybody’s Best Friend

6 years, 9 months.

Dear Holly,

I am actually able to to learn a lot about myself, thanks to your daily commentary.

This week, I was minding my own business, clearing the dishwasher, when you announced to me:

“Daddy, you’re sort of like everybody’s best friend.”

I explained, “I do my best to not have any enemies…”

You got more specific:

“Anytime we go anywhere, to a store or a restaurant, you always have to talk to people you don’t know, but then it’s like you’re their best friend.”

If me talking to strangers counts as being everybody’s best friend, I’ll take it!