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Dude Turned Dad Episode Eighteen: “The Thanksgiving Hack”

Here's one easy way to tell your newborn how thankful you are that they exist.

My son’s first Thanksgiving has come and gone. Rory busied himself mostly by drooling on relatives and soaking up attention. For him, the holidays mean his car seat (which he hates) and a collage of new faces (which he loves.) He doesn’t understand the concept of thanks, gratitude, or gravy. He does understand the excitement of being the center of attention and getting picked up whenever he wants to be. His feet didn’t hit the ground all weekend.

This was also your faithful Dude Turned Dad’s first Thanksgiving as a parent. It was also the first Thanksgiving I felt deeply thankful. I’m a complainer and a compare-er. Gratitude is not usually my attitude. But having a baby basically turns your inner monologue into an embroidered pillow. “Life is a gift.” “Family is everything.” “Everyday is a blessing.” My son has filled me with thanks. When we went around the table this T-Gives, I was ready.

But how do you communicate your warm fuzzies to your newborn? They feel the hugs and kisses, but how do you share that feeling of being so thankful it hurts your heart? I found the answer in the last place you check for parenting advice: Reddit. I discovered this delightful post which I’ll lay it out for those of you too lazy to click a link.

STEP ONE: Create an email address for your newborn

Locking down the social media, website, and email address for your newborn might feel like neo-futurist insanity, but do it. In the age of techno-squatters, online real estate is valuable. I didn’t want my son’s email address to end up being RoryKaufman69@earthlink.net. Set up an email for your baby. Welcome to 2018.

STEP TWO: Write your baby an email about how thankful you are

This applies to any holiday, milestone, or big parenting moment. Write the messages you want your kids to know about this time. I wrote my son a giant email for Thanksgiving describing to him how he’s changed my life and made me more grateful. You can read it / watch it here.

STEP THREE: Read the email with your kid when they come of age

The magic of this hack is using email like a digital memory box. There is a pristine, untouched inbox that will be full of beautiful moments that you will share with your child: Their first Thanksgiving, their first steps, their first whatever. Reading it a few years from now will be transformative.

So there’s my Thanksgiving hack. Whether you’ve been watching Dude Turned Dad from the beginning, or you stumbled on this article hoping for a good turkey cutting workaround (a “turkaround.” You’re welcome.) know that I am very thankful for you. I am making this show so that someday my son and I can watch it together.

Dude Turned Dad is my email to my newborn, my link between the past and the future. What’s yours?