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.
It’s like I’m Geppetto and my son is Pinocchio. No, my son isn’t a wooden puppet; he’s an 18 month-old toddler. But he wants to be a real boy.
Yeah, he knows that technically he’s still considered a baby. But the way he aims to please his adult parents, the way he’s eager to mimic every random thing we do, the way he laughs when we laugh though he has no idea why it’s supposed to be funny…
He wants to be a real boy.
As I look through the dozens of photos I take of him each weekend, I can’t help but notice in certain ones, he looks so much older than he actually is.
But I say it’s no coincidence that those occasional “big boy pictures” serve as an appropriate representation of the percentage of him that is not simply a toddler, but a little boy.
Because that real boy is starting to show.
For the past couple of months I have heard my wife tell our son, “Make the face, Jack. Make the face.”
Evidently one day out of nowhere he started making his signature “surprised face” whenever I wasn’t in the room. Then when I finally did catch him doing it, I was never lucky enough to capture it on camera.
Until this past weekend.
These two rare pictures you see today are of “the face.”
Even though Jack never makes the face when he is actually surprised, he likes to do this new magic trick to entertain his parents; if for no other reason.
Even now, as I look at these pictures, it’s so obvious to me that this does not look like my toddler son from even just a month ago.
There must be something about crossing that 18 month mark that shows up in a child’s physical characteristics.
On Sunday we were at a friend’s birthday party and someone commented, “Wow, look at Jack’s hair. He has ‘little boy hair’ now!”
And I instantly knew what she meant.
I feel like, psychically, he’s grown up more in the past few weeks than any other time in his life so far. I know in reality that’s not the case, since they grow much quicker after they are first born. (Right?)
So enjoy these rare pictures of Jack truly looking like a real boy while moments like these are still rare. Because soon, he really will be a little boy full-time; not just part-time.