February 15, 2013 at 10:17 pm , by Nick Shell
2 years, 2 months.
I don’t know whether it’s from the Vacation movies with the Griswolds, or maybe just a combination of every 80′s sitcom I grew up watching, but in my mind it’s the dad’s job to emphasize what it means to be a [enter last name here].
To illustrate, I’ll just use Growing Pains as an example here. I can easily imagine Jason Seaver telling Ben, “We Seavers are not quitters!”
Every once in a while you like to play with the seashells we collected from our trip to Naples, FL in December 2011.
You pour them out of the plastic cup we keep them in, then examine them one by one on the carpet.
I always think, “Jack, do you realize you are playing with our last name right now?”
Knowing it would just confuse you at this point to try to explain to you that our last name is Shell and what a last name even is, I just let you enjoy your playtime.
But I have been pondering what it means to be a Shell.
Unless you ever have a baby brother, you are basically the last male Shell in our family to carry on the name, since I was the only one until you got here.
Essentially, I figure so much of what it means to be a Shell has to do with the household culture that Mommy and I are raising you in.
I would definitely say in order to be Shell, you have to be a bit on the quirky side; never apologizing for being different, never being tempted to follow the crowd.
Work ethic is huge to our identity. We like to be known for working hard, being proactive, and thinking creatively.
When it comes to politics, we are conservative, yet open-minded and open-armed to different cultures.
In regards to financial decisions, we are as shrewd as my Italian grandfather who grew up in an orphanage during the 1930′s. (The day we pay for a smart phone or cable TV is the day they give it to us for free!)
We are equally as disciplined when it comes to nutrition, being sticklers for reading ingredients while being liberal on calories.
Shells are deep thinkers, always curious of where stuff comes from and how it got here.
To us, God is not simply the third word of OMG, but the one we try to please everyday in the way we treat others.
You are a Shell. You’re one of us. You are destined to encompass the best and worst of our family’s micro-culture.
However, in regards to the importance that individuality plays in our family, I recognize that despite the way that Mommy and I will inevitably “brainwash” you in our weird ways as we raise you, still you have free will to make your own decisions and form your own opinions; especially the older you get.
So while you are one of us no matter what, you’re still you. And I like the micro-culture you bring to our family. After all, I write a letter to you about it everyday.