Thank you, sir, for this Summer of Ping Pong. 

The hundreds of games we played together (ping! pong! ping! pong!) set the summer tone.

You are bouncing between full-teenager (your first phone & mission trip) and full-kid.

This was a hard summer to be the baby of our family. You hate feeling left behind as your siblings drove away with their new independence. We all love to tell you how to be a Hergenrader—but you’ll have none of this hand-me-down advice. You do soccer instead of cross-country, you’re navigating Camp Lone Star your own way, you use more hair products than any of us, and you refuse to let us smother you.

But back to all that ping-pong we played…

The real victory was all those hours we spent together. Most days, I hoped you would see I was your partner and not your opponent. You could beat me in every one of these games (and you usually did), as long as we both kept showing up for time together.

I’m here for all of it, Nate. The awkward puberty, the misfired attempts at freedom, the victories, the losses, the boundaries, the arguments, the grace.

But especially? I’m here for the ping-pong.

Love you, sweetheart. Go win 8th grade.


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