Jake, you probably won't read this because you're hopefully busy getting ready for your first day of high school. That's cool. This might be more for me than it is for you and it also might be a bit of a brag. Dads are allowed to do that. But seriously...what happened to you? One minute you're sound asleep laying on my chest...

Townsquare Media - Jeff Parsons

...and the next minute you're almost as tall as I am with hair down to your shoulders and I have a lot less hair.

Jeff Parsons

One minute you're learning to play pinball for the first time...

Jeff Parsons

...the next minute, you're beating me for the first time.

Jeff Parsons

You're a freshman in high school now. What? How can that be? The kid who came running across the soccer field yelling "Daddy!" when you saw me show up at your first soccer game is now almost old enough to drive.

I know this is a big time in your life. You've had lots of those big-time moments, some great, and some sad. It's a hard lesson to learn as a kid to take the good with the bad, but you do it like a champ. You put on a good game face. Always worried about how others feel and sometimes not worrying as much about yourself.

You are the most compassionate and caring kid I've ever met. Always eager to please and make people happy. Those are good traits to have and they will serve you well in high school. But don't worry if you don't always succeed. No one bats a thousand. You just need to hit the ball more often than you miss.

I know high school has you nervous. Don't think that you're alone, because I guarantee you that half of your classmates are just as nervous as you are or even more so. Give it time and that will pass and you'll settle in and be ready to kill it your freshman year.

You are in a great place right now in your life. One day, after you've graduated and gone on to become the marine biologist you've wanted to be even before you started kindergarten, you're going to look back at high school as one of the greatest times of your life.

Jake, there's not a single day that has gone by in your almost 15 years that I haven't done something that has made me proud of you. You are so much like me, because that's how genes work. So I totally get you and I think you get me.

I love you kid. Get in there and show 'em how it's done.


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LOOK: Here are the pets banned in each state

Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.