Sunday, August 3, 2014

For When Caden Turns Three

Dear Caden,

Today you turn three, and you woke up early. We let you, because your sweet big sister was just too excited to give you the presents she picked out and painstakingly wrapped using entirely-too-much of my favorite washi tape.

You exclaimed with excitement over the Dusty Firefighter she got you, even though you told me during the movie you just wanted to go home and get some yogurt. You love yogurt and cheese (which I suppose means you must be my son), but inexplicably refuse to drink milk. As a matter of fact, I spend a large percentage of my life these days feeding you. Because you are always hungry, scavenging for snacks of some kind, yet never can sit still long enough to eat a full meal. You will sob and tell me "but my tummy makes me so hungry," even when you have just finished three slices of pizza and one banana. I can pretty much guarantee the first words out of your mouth and the last ones before you go to bed will be regarding your desperation for something to eat. Unexplainably, you somehow still have the cutest and tiniest bottom known to mankind, and as soon as we get you potty-trained and out of diapers, I'm not sure your 18month-size pants will stay up over your diaper-less bottom. Your big blue eyes and cute little pointy canine teeth (who know those were hereditary!? thank your daddy for those ones), not to mention your hilarious personality, make it hard to discipline you, even on your worst days of full-on-terrible-twos. I'd like to say I think those might be over now that you're turning three, but I think we all know that the third year rarely ends up easier than the second.

I woke up this morning thinking of the morning you were born. Of the anticipation and excitement curling in my stomach, the unique tendrils of hope and joy that were not fully birthed in my heart until I held you in my arms. I loved you immediate and fierce, even without knowing all the ways you would rend and stretch me. The fears and faith that your first three weeks, and the next three years, would grow in me. 
Certainly, I am not the same person mothering you today as I was on that morning three years ago. You make me better and braver, and your life continues to astound me. Because you are brave and funny. You have the absolutely-most-adorable baby voice, while living wild and non-stop. The first question the cardiologist always asks us is: have you noticed him tiring easily? Your daddy and I always exchange glances and raise an eyebrow at each other before responding with an emphatic: not even a little bit.

Originally they told us your next surgery might be when you were three years old. Now they/we think it will probably be able to wait even longer, but three somehow still holds this ability to squeeze my own heart when I think of sending you to have open-heart-surgery-again. Because most days, most minutes, those days feel like a distant dream. You are my crazy and hilarious and, as Jayci calls you, adorable little boy. The one who rarely finds himself in trouble, because I am hard-pressed not to laugh at your antics. You love every sport fiercely, and tell me all the time that once you are three and a big boy you will play baseball and soccer ball and basketball and golf ball. Playing "basketball shooter" with Ashton, as a matter of fact, ranks just about your favorite thing to do (besides eating-all-of-the-things). 

But sometimes, when I hold your close with your heart pressed against mine, I remember. At night, I hold you for a minute and your arm snakes around my neck while your fingers scratch my back lightly. My own heart beats a slow steady thump. Your heart does not. It gallops lightly, and I feel the spot where the metal that twines together your sternum bumps out. Gently I lay you in your bed, resting my hand on your chest while I pray, and feel my own heart skip at the unique rhythm of yours.

I pray for you today and this year. That your unique rhythm will grow and not diminish. That you will continue to find your footing and your place. To remember, somehow, where you've come from and the God who saved you. That your heart will beat wild and unique for the things worth caring about. That you will make new friends, learn new words, dance and sing loud, play hard, and live abandoned to the things you love. Your daddy and I feel so proud of you, of where you have come from and where you will go. We know that our lives have been (and continue to be) shaped by you and your special heart, in every sense of the phrase. 

May your third year dawn your best-year-yet. May you learn the value of friendship and exploration. Remember that you are loved and safe, while beginning to assert your independence as your very own person. You live life like a daring adventure every single day, and I hope you never lose that spirit. That your big-bold feelings will steer you to the arms of Jesus, knowing that He alone authors every good thing. Happy birthday my sweet boy.
I love you deep and fierce,


  1. So beautiful. You should make this into a mini-book for him. Our David too has had a heart repair at 7 days and luckily his conditions was corrected fully and while he needs regular check-ups, he should be okay. But he too has a different sounding heart (seems like an extra thump) and it's "our favourite sound" as he well knows. From one heart-mom to another, Happy Birthday for Caden!

  2. I remember the day he was born. I love that God has blessed you so with your sweet baby. I pray the year ahead is a year filled with joy.


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