Joining Hands

Dear Ellie — For the past five years, your grandfather and I have lived in a downtown highrise condo in Austin. It’s a lovely place, where we’re treated very well. It’s also been a good place for us to be at this time in our…

Roaming With a Passport

Ellie — Well, you just had your first international trip. You even have a passport, with a photo that shows you glaring at the camera. (Passport photos are never good, even when you’re an attractive baby.) You and your parents met Uncle Nick, his girlfriend…

Singing Like No One Can Hear

Dear Ellie — Today’s your first day in daycare. Not ones to let anything in your life go undocumented, your parents have snapped your first day below. You’re in a Spanish immersion daycare, which means you’ll soon be running circles around us in two languages,…

To Quote a Band, I’m a Believer

Ellie — Almost a year ago, your grandfather and I went to see an off-Broadway play called “The Christians.” It told the story of a minister who’s begun to doubt some of his church’s primary tenets, such as the belief in hell as a place of…

One Year Old

Ellie — You’re almost a year old now, and your grandfather and I will be coming to help you celebrate. If you’re anything like your mother at the same age, you’ll smear icing all over your face and fall asleep with your head in the…

Shades of History

Ellie — Right now, there’s a controversy going on: Should the professional football team, the Washington Redskins, change its name since “redskin” is a derogatory term for American Indians? Once you read this, it probably won’t still be a controversy, having been long resolved one…

Pursuits That Aren’t Trivial

Dear Ellie — Let me tell you about a talk your mother and I once had with your grandfather and Uncle Nick. It was about 10 years ago. If memory serves, we’d just demolished them in a holiday game of Trivial Pursuit, and the two…

Civilization or Bust

Ellie — Well, you’ve now come and gone again. It had been almost three months since your grandfather and I had seen you — and I was struck by how much you’ve changed. When you first saw us this time, you sat and regarded us…

Hire Education

Ellie — Since you recently turned nine months and are motoring your way into toddlerhood, I think it’s time to talk about something serious: jobs. Yes, jobs. I’m not talking about a career or profession, which is a serious business you don’t have to think…

Time Well Spent

Dear Ellie — You’re looking really happy these days, busily exploring the world around you. Recently, when Opa and I were talking to you on FaceTime, your little face lit up at the sight of us — we thought. Turns out, you just wanted your…