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The first day

Courtesy of the author

You've heard the phrase many times before. The one about a picture and how many words it's worth. I snapped one of those this morning.

When I came downstairs at 6:35 a.m., I saw the Sharpie on the counter next to the camouflage backpack and lunch bag. I didn't think much of if. Over the course of the next 30 minutes, blue Izods slipped over heads, new Nikes were laced up, teeth were brushed. Jackson was standing in the garage, fully dressed, backpack on, a solid 15 minutes before it was time to leave. My wife Brandy called him back inside, and asked him to come into the kitchen. She knelt down, and hovered over his hand, as if inspecting a tiny gemstone. When he bounded back to the door, I saw it on his hand. 

That little message is so many things. It's a lighthouse if the weather gets too stormy. It's a favorite scene from Megamind that incites a gap-filled grin. It's the dragon necklace my son constantly pulls out from under his T-shirt so the world can see it. It's a mom who got to say "I love you" all summer long, whenever she wanted to, but now sees you walking out of our lives, and into your own. It's a reminder that Mom is with you forever and ever (of course, using a permanent marker can help).  

Based on that old phrase, I have about 750 words left to say about the picture. But I'll leave the last few for my amazing wife: Sometimes a dad is not a dad. Sometimes a dad is just a mom's husband.