Dear Ethan,

This is my friend, “Bear.” He is soft and cuddly, and also very wise. Most of the time he just sits on his porch in his rocking chair and watches the world go by. Sometimes he eats a sandwich.

He is not “real.” He’s “pretend.” Sometimes you can see and touch things and they look real, but they are pretend. Bear is pretend. Sometimes you can’t see things or touch them, but they very real. Jesus is real. Bear is pretend. I know it can get confusing when you are just a week old, but these are important things for you to know.

Batman is pretend, but he has a very cool car. Superman is also pretend, but that’s because no one is ever that strong. And on top of that Superman never cries, which is not only unreal, but will lead to years of therapy and a lot of expensive doctor bills. It’s real to cry when you are hungry, hurting, need a diaper, are afraid, or even just if you want to for no reason at all. You don’t need to pretend to be strong. Only Jesus is strong and don’t forget, He is real.

Santa Claus, on the other hand, is pretend. Just be careful who you say that to, especially around Christmas. “Santa” is really “Satan” spelled sideways sort of. He is real, too, but you cannot see him. He is bad. Always remember, Jesus is real and Jesus is stronger than Satan, so you are always safe.

I have to warn you, sometimes real and pretend can become very confusing. For example, politicians are real, but what they say is pretend. The national debt is real, but money is pretend.

It’s going to take a lot of experience to learn the difference between real and pretend, but don’t worry, Grampa will help you figure it out–well, at least for awhile. There is this thing about life that when you become old you often become delusional and can’t tell the difference anymore between real and pretend. But for now, I will help you.