Letters to Jack: On Turning Five

Jack —

What does a father say to a son on an important birthday like this one?  Because make no mistake. Five is a big deal. You are officially a boy. You’re not a little kid anymore.

I’m not sure I’ve ever truly considered you just a little kid. Your mother and I said from the start that you are an old soul. You’ve been here before. You know some things. And you’re constantly observing, trying to know some more.

Other people have always treated you like you were older, too. It might have been the hair. You came out with that jet black faux-hawk. I called you little Adam Lambert for a while, which no one will get now since Adam Lambert is little more than a trivia question. But it was funny at the time.

From hanging out to Hangouts in five years.

From hanging out to Hangouts in five years.

The first-born in me recognizes that this isn’t the fairest thing in the world. You’re only five. Why should you have to be so mannered or responsible or understanding or patient? You’re not a teenager yet.

But yet, you kind of are. As much as you can be reduced to a puddle of giggles when you and Reid jump on the bed or have a pretend fight that rages all across Metropolis, you have a quality well beyond your years. You’re genuinely concerned about other people. That’s rare in adults, much less a five-year old boy.

You’re the kid who makes sure everyone has a good time. You check on your brothers when they’re crying. You colored a picture, for each of your friends who came to your party yesterday, and you insisted on coloring a picture that was just right for each of them. This is just who you are. It makes you happy, caring for other people.

These things cause me a bit of worry for you. I could see how you might struggle under the weight of everyone’s expectations as you get older. It would be easy, to rebel against whatever image you think people have in their minds of you and show them all that they don’t know a thing about you. That you are your own man. That you do what YOU want.

That’s one way to go. But there’s another path.

People’s expectations of you aren’t a burden or a punishment, although it can sometimes feel that way. Expectations are just another form of belief. No one expects a thing from people they don’t believe in.

So, this is what I say to you on an important birthday like this one. No one believes in you more than your mother and I. No one. Our only expectation of you is that you fail and make mistakes and screw up every now and again. We will always love you, not in spite of your failures and mistakes and screw ups, but because of them.

They mean that you’re trying to be the very best version of you that you can be. If you do that, then you will have a big, full, amazing life.

We  want nothing less and hope for even more.

All my love,


This is probably the last year I'll have to read these letters to you. Forgive me for making you sit in my lap while I do it.

This is probably the last year I’ll have to read these letters to you. Forgive me for making you sit in my lap while I do it.

  3 comments for “Letters to Jack: On Turning Five

  1. March 23, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Nice letter!
    The picture makes him look older or more concerned too. That is a nice trait to have.
    Here is to hoping that he tries is very best and has that big full amazing life.
    Larry recently posted..To My Fellow Passenger on the A Train: You are Not the Only One!

  2. March 24, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    ” You’re trying to be the best version of you that you can possibly be.” I think you have summed up in one sentence what we all wish for our children for a life time. Not to mention ourselves. Nailed it.
    Emily recently posted..Seeking Direction

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    June 25, 2014 at 10:26 pm

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