I don’t regularly share pictures of you on Facebook, unattached from daily stories I write about you.
But over the weekend, I did. I just shared three pictures of you on Mommy’s Facebook wall, as she is rarely on Facebook anyway:
In one, you’re smiling with Mommy as you “make soup” with water and spices.
In another, you’re proudly displaying your hilarious monster truck collection.
And in the third one, you’re using a pizza crust as a mustache.
Sharing those pictures with Mommy was my way of helping her stay connected with Facebook friends; giving her new material to talk about without her actually having to start the conversation.
As the comments began rolling in, I started seeing a common factor: People were genuinely amazed at how much older you look.
I haven’t noticed it as much because I see you everyday. I’m more aware of changes in your intellectual maturity instead.
So I guess I should take this down as a moment in your life where you magically looked a bit older, all of the sudden.
Your friend Henry’s dad put it this way: “When did Jack turn 7?”
It’s like watching the minute hand of a clock. If you stare at it constantly, you probably won’t really notice it move. But if you turn away for 20 minutes, then return back to it, you see an obvious difference.
As your parent, I see you every day. Since you’ve been alive, there have probably only been 3 or 4 nights where I was out of town and didn’t see you at all for the day.
Something I have noticed here recently is that your hair is obviously more brown now, like your parents’ hair color, than it is blonde.
And I’ve noticed how your nose and lips look just like Mommy’s now, while your chin and brow look a lot like mine.
It’s easy to get distracted in actually raising you everyday that I tend not to see so obviously what everybody else does- those subtle changes are hidden, though they’re right in front of me.
Sunday night, Mommy scrolled through the pictures on my personal Facebook page going back all the way to March 2005, when I first joined the social media website.
After doing so, she remarked, “Your Facebook pictures have obviously become a lot more mature since we got married and especially since Jack was born.”
She’s totally right.
I haven’t gone through the trouble of removing them yet, but at the time of writing this letter to you, there were still quite a few pictures of me posing for purposely stupid pictures.
Like the one where I am inmpersonating a pro-wrestler, with my shirt off, standing in front of a huge British flag.
Oh, and my hair is down to my chin.
Then there’s the one where I’m mocking the year 1976 where I have the same long hair, accompanied by a creeper mustache and an unbuttoned silky shirt.
And don’t forget the entire picture folder which contains several shots of me in Mr. Potato Head pajama pants pretending to fall down a flight of stairs.
Completely stupid, but at least on purpose.
But in the year 2005, I was a single, 24 year-old dude. That’s the kind of stuff I could put on Facebook and easily get away with.
Of course, back in those days, the only people were who my Facebook friends were people I knew from college and expected my deadpan sense of humor.
These days, everyone’s on Facebook- including semi-distant relatives, my former elementary school teachers, and church staff.
I can’t get away with being that goofy like I used to. It confuses people. I’ve learned irony, sarcasm, and dark comedy don’t quite translate on Facebook like they did when I was 24.
Even over the recent past several months, I have totally toned down my Facebook behavior in general.
It used to be that I would post fake status updates to see who would think I was serious. Turns out, more people did than I realized…
It used to be that I was more opinionated, but I realized it actually divided people and that’s not something I want to be known for.
So needless to say, my Facebook lifestyle has evolved.
I’m not saying I never have fun on it anymore, but considering that posting pictures of Mommy and me pretending to eat giant M&M’s at the Louisville Zoo are the new “crazy” pictures, I’d say I’ve defintely matured since the days of the long-haired guy posing in Mr. Potato Head pajama pants.
Now, my general rule for posting a picture of myself on Facebook is that you have to be in it too. “Selfie” shots now include you and/or Mommy.
Son, I have to break the news to you: You won’t be tall enough play in the NBA.
But while a career in professional basketball may not be in the cards for you, I know you’ll still have a lot of fun playing on your Little Tikes basketball goal you got last weekend for your 2nd birthday.
So here’s what we’re looking at: I think you’re going to be around 5′ 8″ or maybe 5′ 9″ by the time you’re done growing up.
We measured you on your 2nd birthday (several times just to be sure) and took several pictures to make it official.
When I see these pictures I laugh because the look on your face makes it seem like it’s your mugshot. A 2 year-old getting a mugshot; that’s funny.
Especially the one where you have dried spaghetti sauce on your face because I made you line up for the picture immediately after dinner, before I would let you play with your toys.
The theory is that, despite growth spurts and growth lags, proportionately on your 2nd birthday you’re half of your adult height.
It worked both for me and my sister, so I know it to be true in my own life.
On your 2nd birthday, you were about 34 inches tall. Doubling that means you will grow to near 5′ 8″.
So basically, you’ll be about as tall as me, which is about 5′ 9″. That sounds about right, because hardly anyone on either side of our family is over 5′ 11″. Mommy’s daddy was that height too.
You won’t be tall, nor will you be particularly short.
You’ll be as about tall as Ben Stiller and Robin Williams.
What’s funny is that your Mommy and I thought you were going to be like 6′ 3″ and 200 pounds. You were born big.
And up until recently, you were a big kid. People thought you were a year older than you were.
But by the time you reached your 2nd birthday, you started to become proportionally more like me: A smaller framed, yet averaged sized male.
During high school, you’ll probably wish you could be a little bit taller as some of your friends shoot up to over 6 feet tall. I remember feeling that way around 11th grade.
Eventually though, you’ll begin to appreciate your completely normal and average size.
I guess it’s pretty unusual knowing so early in your life how tall you’ll grow to be.
There’s really no wondering for you on this. Jack, you’re destined to be physically average sized. Just like me.
But I promise you: You are no average boy.
You are my son. I am pouring my into life into you. I will make sure you turn out to be no average kid.
I already know you’re destined to challenge the system, to be strong in your opinions, and to take pride in the things that make you different.
So with that being said, I don’t think you can be an average boy. Well, maybe in height, but that’s it.