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Dear Son, First Swell of Pride

--- 3 Years, 9 Months ---

Dear Son, 

It's been a while since I've dropped a note to you - actually I haven't done so since your last birthday. The last nine months since then have been trying, tremendous, and of course, VERY interesting. We've been able to witness your personality come to be, your talents begin to blossom, and overall, you begin to establish yourself very early in this world. 

After all, COVID continues and really has been a dominant presence in your life. While masks as of this writing are no longer required in school, over the past few months your mother and I have had you home again, a lot - much like the start of the pandemic - after variants of COVID closed your school repeatedly (and frequently), and for a brief moment had society on edge. 

Regardless, we made it. And during those stints of 8 days, 10 days, or whatever the state mandate was at the time for the latest recent closure, I learned not how much you missed school, but truly, how much you thrive in that atmosphere. 

I had the opportunity to attend your very first parent-teacher conference very recently. I sat in your very chair (no idea how it didn't break, and how I made it back up), as other parents did for their children - an awkward scene of adults sitting in toddler chairs in the same circle you and your friends do every day. I listened to your two teachers talk about lesson plans, what a day looks like for you and your friends, and of course, the assessment of how each child was thriving. 

I met your best friend's mother, and listened to other parents mention, "ah yes, [enter child's name] talks about Ace all the time." 

As the teachers openly discussed strengths, weaknesses, and additional support needed to help build that bridge to Pre-K, your teachers got to me and the following was said, "Ace is ready NOW to move up". 

Truthfully, I felt embarrassed at the moment - being the parent of the only child with no markers for improvement. "Ace can spell and recognizes his name. He knows the months, the days of the week, his motors skills are there, and most importantly, he's really the leader for everyone else. He helps everyone else get involved."

At that moment, I could not have felt more proud. I even offset the uncomfortable praise and pride with a jab at you to keep you humble, and possibly myself at that moment.

"Well, let's take it easy on the spelling of the name accomplishment, it's only three letters. Let's give poor Charlotte a break here." 

But secretly, again, I was tremendously proud. 

Are we doing something right? I guess so. And that's also so incredibly reaffirming as a first-time parent, who happens to be parenting possibly during the most difficult time in history to be a said parent.

At that moment, sitting there hearing teachers and directors shower praise upon your ability to excel, and listen to parents voice how you made others feel welcome in your class - yo, it was just overwhelming pride that swelled my heart as I sat there, six inches off the ground on a chair that barely supported me. 

So, incredibly, proud. 

I look forward to more of those moments. I really, really, do. 

Love, Dad

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