I can’t believe that you’re actually 9 years old. 9 years ago today, my world was turned upside down and my heart was shattered with a whole new kind of love that I had never known.
I’m sure you already know this, but yes, I’m crying while writing this post.
You have crushes, you have friends at school, you have your own life. Every day when you wake up you want to go play with your friends, and I know how important that is to you, so I let you go, with the rules in place. But every time you leave, I think about the first time I held you, and how much I love you and don’t want to let you go. Even if it is for a short time, so you can go play with your friends.
You have quite the sense of humor. You are always trying to make me smile or laugh, which can be rather unfortunate when it comes to disciplining you. Yes, even you, my angel of a child, you can be a hellion when you want to be. But even when you’re being kind of a jerk – is that okay, to call my kid a jerk? Well, sometimes it’s true. Even when you’re being kind of a jerk, I can see your heart. You are incredibly sensitive and can read other people around you. I understand this, because I am the same way, and I will tell you that there will be times that you wish that wasn’t so. There will be times that you will be so overcome with hurt because of the way that someone has treated you, that you will wish you didn’t feel at all. I’m sharing this with you because I’m still learning this myself – God keeps reminding me over and over again, that I am that way for a reason. And YOU, my Love, are that way for a reason as well.
You are kind, you are caring, and you are sensitive. You came home from school at the beginning of third grade last year, in tears, because someone had called you weird and said you were crazy. We sat down and I hugged you, holding back every instinct in me that said I wanted to go tear that kid apart. After all, he can live with one arm, right? I was good though, and told you “all the best people are weird and crazy.” You looked at me with tears in your eyes, and immediately lit up. You wiped your nose with your arm (ew) and said “Like Einstein!”
Yes, my baby, like Einstein. The most amazing people in this world, the people that change the world and make history, are always a little weird and crazy. And people make fun of them and mock them because they have something that those people will never have. The weird and crazy people don’t care, because they know that while they have crappy days sometimes and insecurities, they are going to be amazing, and will work their hardest to get there. You are so much wiser than your nine years. Now, when someone calls you weird or crazy, you tell them “that’s RIGHT I am weird and also crazy.” You are proud to be yourself, and I pray every day that God nurtures that in you so that you never lose it.
When we were on vacation last year, you wanted to sing karaoke SO BAD. Most karaoke bars or places that offer it require that you are 21 because of alcohol, and your thirst for justice kicks in, followed by anger because you’re being “discriminated against” because of your age. So when you finally got the chance to sing, you were all over it. And when they told you that they didn’t have your song, you got up in front of about 200 people and sang a pop song, a capella. You didn’t care what anyone thought, you rocked it. I sat on the floor because there were no chairs, right in front of you, and helped you when you forgot some of the lyrics. Because that’s my job. To help you keep moving forward, even if you stumble. And make no mistake – you will stumble, we all do. And when you do, people can be very mean, wanting to never let you forget it. I will still be there, encouraging you to keep going.
Kids can be mean right now, but it will get much, much worse. And we’ve had this discussion as well – I wish I could tell you that as an adult, it will get better, but truly, mean people are mean people. It doesn’t matter what age they are, if they are out to hurt someone, they will do everything they can to accomplish that goal. You have an amazing light inside of you. Your personality, your faith, your love, and everything about you shines so brightly that you will be a magnet to these people who want to extinguish that light so that you are dark, like them. Never, ever, EVER let someone do that to you. Remember, you can’t control other people. If they’re going to be assholes, they will be, there’s nothing you can do about it. But you CAN control how you react. You are entitled to your emotions – get pissed off, get upset, cry it out, but then instead of acting against them and letting them drag you down, use those emotions to do something amazing for someone else. If you allow hate into your heart, it will consume you. Use that energy to work towards something greater than yourself, and to love and serve others.
You were only 3 years old when this playground photo was taken. You’ve always been rather tall for your age though, so you were quite a bit bigger than the other kids, and always ready to play, jumping immediately on any play equipment you could find. But you dropped everything to help a little girl because she was scared to climb the ladder. I could hear you coaching her “it’s okay, it’s not scary, it’s fun” in your little voice, and I’m so glad that I was able to capture the photo. In this photo, I see everything that is you. Your amazing heart, your love for others, your compassion and your empathy.
We have always been particularly close. When you, with Grandpap, walked me down the aisle at our wedding, it is a moment that will forever stay in my mind. You looked up at me and said “you ready?” and I thought that my heart was going to melt.
Photo: Verve Studio
And now, it’s the three of us. You call us the Three Musketeers. My Mother’s Day gift this year was a diamond necklace with three stones – Tommy, Me, and You. You are so very lucky to be surrounded by family at every turn, and Tommy has become the head of our family, we truly are an amazing trio. You and Tommy have an awesome bond, and sometimes I admit, I’m jealous. But I know without a doubt that God has brought Tommy and I together, and you and Tommy make a pretty great team. Except for when you’re teaming up on me, give mommy a break, k?
Speaking of mommy, that’s another thing. Don’t ever call me Brooke. I have always been, and will always be Mommy. Okay, well, you are getting to the age where you might call me Mom. Still unacceptable, Mommy is it. Would it help if I legally change my name to Mommy? I’ll do it, don’t think I won’t. You remind me all the time that you’re not a baby, and I tell you every time that it doesn’t matter how old you are, you will always be my baby. You don’t like to hear it now, but you will like it even less as you get older. Until one day VERY FAR from this day, you will be HAPPILY MARRIED and have your own baby. And when you hold that tiny little life in your arms, the things that I told you will flood back to you and you will remember. And you will be able to share your light with your baby, and continue sharing light with the rest of the world.
Since you’re so quick to correct me on everything and you know everything right now, memorize both of these:
A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. – James Keller
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. ~ Matthew 5:14-15
You, my dear Kaden, are set on a hill. You are a son of the King most high, with amazing gifts and talents. You are not only ambitious enough to be able to do whatever you want in life, but you are truly smart enough. And I know that when you get to where you want to go, doing whatever it is that you want to do, you will help others in their journeys as well. Your heart is one of love and compassion, and that light can change the world.
Don’t ever dim or hide that light.
I am so damn proud of you and the person that you’re becoming. Please know that, and remember it every day. And when you’re 15 and so angry with me and the world because of the things going on in your body that you don’t understand, remember how much I love you. We have been through some crazy shit my child. Me and you, caring for each other and loving each other when it felt like the world is crumbling. God has protected us and taken us this far, and I know with 100% certainty that He’s not done with either of us. You will be one of the weird and crazy people that makes it into the history books, because of the enormous changes and contributions to the world, and people will remember your kindness and your love.
Don’t ever stop loving, even if it hurts. And always love your Mommy. Because even though I mess up sometimes, I promise you, other than God, there is no one in this world who loves you like I do.
I’m so proud of you, and love you more than words can say. Even if you wear a Seattle Seahawks hat, I still love you. Now THAT is love.