Dear Jack: Summer Camp, Sister Edition

10 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

I would say the theme of your summer this year has been “Different Summer Camp Every Week.” Between your week at Coding Camp, your week at Space Camp, our family trip to Georgia, our family trip to North Carolina, our family trip to California, your week of church summer camp in Alabama, in addition to another week in Alabama at Nonna and Papa’s house, you’ve hardly had much time to be bored at our house!

But for the nights you have slept in your own bed, you have insisted that your sister join you for what I call “Sister Summer Camp”, where Mommy and I let the two of you stay up later than normal.

I can tell it helps the two of you have good quality time together. And it’s your choice to have her there with you in your bedroom, as she sleeps on her sleeping bag on the floor next to you, or the bunk bed above you.

Love,

Daddy

 

Dear Jack: You and Your Sister Secretly Got Each Other Gifts While You Were Apart

10 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

Until this past weekend, you hadn’t been in our house for 3 weeks! First, we were in Georgia on vacation, then you spent the next week at Nonna and Papa’s in Alabama, and then last week you were away at CentrKid camp.

When you finally made it back to our house and saw your sister again, you had a special gift prepared for her: A pair of little matching stuffed animals; one for you and one for your sister.

And your sister had saved you some little plastic balloons from her friend’s birthday; that was her surprise gift for you. She even carefully wrapped them up for your to open!

At no point had Mommy and I suggested the two of you get gifts for each other; but to our surprise, you both did!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: A Day at the Lake, in Our Front Yard

5 years.

Dear Holly,

What happens when Mommy runs out for errand on a Saturday afternoon and I stay home with you and your brother?

I never know… it typically is something random that I wouldn’t necessarily plan for the two of you.

This particular most recent time, it ended up being you wearing a life vest and holding on to a little boogie board, while your brother chased you down with his new water gun.

So basically, it was like a Saturday afternoon at the lake… only the lake happened to be the cul-de-sac connected to our driveway.

 

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: You and Your Sister Have Turned Our Old Phones into Technology Corner

7 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

One night last week in attempt to keep your sister occupied as Mommy and I rushed to finish cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, I saw Mommy’s newly retired “old” phone on the shelf.

I pulled up the calculator app, and my plan proved itself to be successful. Your sister had become instantly lost in a sea of numbers. She was additionally mesmerized by the water drop sound effect Mommy’s phone made each time a new number was pressed.

So for the past several days now, it has not been uncommon for your sister to crunch numbers, while you play Survival Craft on the Kindle.

Eventually, your sister made her way over to you, from the coffee table which had been serving as her work station.

Then you had a really cool idea. You pulled up the camera on the phone and began taking selfies with her. She loved it!

It was such a big deal for her to get to see how each new picture turned out.

Before your sister’s 2nd birthday, it was rare for me to let your sister have any screen time. But now that she has proven she has reached certain milestones in her speech abilities, I’m okay with a reasonable amount of her watching Netflix with you… or playing with an old phone.

An “old” cell phone from 3 years ago is actually more like a mini home computer. And we have two of them lying around; both Mommy’s and mine. So really, I can imagine how cool of a toy it must seem to your sister.

I have a feeling that from now on, I will need to make sure that one of our old phones is fully charged before any upcoming road trip; like the next time we make the 2 and a half hour drive to Nonna and Papa’s house.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: You’re Missing Your Brother This Week While He’s in Alabama

2 years, 1 months.

Dear Holly,

With your brother finishing 1st grade last week, Mommy and I decided it would be a nice change of pace for him to spend this week at Nonna and Papa’s house. It’s only been a few days now, but you’ve made it very clear you miss him.

You ask me each morning, “Where’s Jackie?”

However, it didn’t take long for you to jump up in his bed and play with his toys in his room. It was your way of not only showing you were thinking about him, but that you might as well take advantage of the situation if wasn’t there to stop you.

For me, it’s a strange concept to just have one child in our house this week.

It’s a glimpse of what life could have been like had you been born first, instead of your brother. In particular, it reminds me that your brother had 5 and a half years as an only child, before you were born.

This week serves as one of the few times in your life where you’ve known what it was like to be an only child. You’re used to being the younger, baby sister. That’s how your brother sees you and treats you; so to a large degree, you adopt that title as your identity.

Granted, the two of you will always be in different stages of childhood; so you’re never really having to compete in the same way that siblings who are closer in age might experience.

In a way, both you and your brother get to be an “only child” to some degree.

In just a few days though, you’ll be reunited with Jackie. I can see you don’t quite feel complete without him. I imagine it’s difficult to feel like a little baby sister when your older brother isn’t right there next to you.

Love,

Daddy