(Ed. Note: No FAQs today as I’m writing the annual first-day-of-school letters to the kids. Here’s the first one, complete with tears and some extra pictures of the first day of school.)

Dear Nate…
You are full of surprises, kid.
Daddy and I would have bet money the first day of school would be very hard for you. You like us to be in sight; you like to be with your family. We figured being at school and away from your mommy would make you cry. All day long.
Again, you’ve taught us a lesson about what to figure.
Know what else we figured? Last month, we figured you would be impossible to potty train, but you learned where to potty in one day.
We bet you would scream for your paci, but you never cried once.
Even though you’re happiest when you’re at home, surrounded by your family, you are also up for tough challenges. As the true baby of our family, you like it when you can watch your siblings tackle the challenge first. You were excited to be a Westlake Wildcat, but only because you had helped drop off your Bubba about 600 times.
Nate, everyone who sees your trademark Hergenrader-white blonde hair thinks they know you. But you are different. Every other Hergenrader kid took their first steps at a year, you did not. Every other Hergenrader kid cried on their first day of school, you did not. You are both one of the four and entirely your own person.
Be your own person this year, Nate. Show your teacher how good you are at piecing together Legos and train tracks. Show your new friends how you are not shy at all when it comes to dancing to a rockin’ Jesus song. Make them all laugh with your classic joke, “Why did the chicken cross the road?…To kiss his girlfriend!”
You sisters don’t do these things. Your bubba didn’t do these things. These are all you.
And you are awesome.
I miss you so much right now my heart hurts.

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