Kaden Quint.  My Firstborn.  My "Gentle One."
My boy who wears the meaning of his name so very well...
Happy Birthday, my Love.

Nine years ago today, you birthed me into motherhood; and you rocked my world in such a way that I have been forever changed -- and have never been the same since.  This is your last year of being in the single digits, Buddy...and that kind of makes my heart hurt just a little bit...

You are growing up, my Son.
And while I absolutely love watching all of your milestones tick off one after the other after the other....this whole growing bigger gig, really kind of slays me.  Methinks I'd best be getting used to it...

I love your love for the great outdoors!  I love how much you love to hunt and fish, to trap and explore.  I love your patience and your grace with your two younger brothers - and I especially love your tender care for London.  Most days around here, you are the one that helps to bring order out of chaos, you are the one who calms a potential argument between your siblings, and you are the one who shows kindness and gentleness - instantly diffusing a heated development that's about to take place.  I love that so much about you.  I see your mercy and your grace lived out daily...and I am so grateful to you for these things.

Your world is expanding, Kaden; and you are no longer a little boy.  You are growing, you are seeing things for yourself, and you are making many new friends.  I love watching this happen, and I love seeing the "big" boy that you are turning into.

And there are a few things that your Mama wants to tell you about all of this...

You are tender.  You are sensitive.  You are kind.  And you look out for the underdog.  Never lose those qualities, my Love.  They will serve you well for all of your days.  Never let anyone tell you that a man should only be "tough."  You watch your Daddy -- and learn that a real man is equal parts tough and tender.

Never be afraid to say you are sorry and to admit when you've been wrong.  It is always the right thing to tell the truth.  Just because everyone else is "doing" something - that doesn't make it right, and it doesn't mean that you have to follow the pack.  You do what you know - in your heart - is the right thing to do...even if that means doing it all by yourself.  Be bold, and take a stand.

But if you don't do this...and if you fail and if you fall...which you probably will sometime or another... never be afraid to come and talk to your Daddy and me about it.  We have fallen and failed too many times to count.  That's part of growing up, as well.  None of us ever stop growing in this arena.

And another thing:  even though it's fun right now to shoot your friends - who are girls - with nerf guns....and even though - right now - they may find it fun and funny, as well.... Mama wants you to treat your friends who are girls like ladies.  I want you to always be a gentleman, and I want you to treat every girl the way you would want some big boy treating your baby sister someday.  You won't always want to shoot them, just so you know...

You are my joy, Kaden, and I love you more than I ever knew was possible.  Thank you for your grace and your patience with me.  You - so much like your Daddy - detailed and precise.  And me - not nearly so exact or structured.  You roll with things so well.  You are so un-demanding and so very sweet when things don't go according to the "plan."  Thank you for your grace.  You teach me well.

 And so, on this your 9th birthday, there are so many things that I could say.  But mostly, I just want to thank you for being you.  And I want you to know how very much I love you.  I love your heart, I love your laugh, and I love your silly sense of humor.  I love your honesty, and I love your sweet, sensitive conscience.  I love your love for your friends and for your family.  And I love the great big boy that you are becoming.

And just like the verse that you quoted so loud and brave at the awana closing program, my prayer for you is the same:  "Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul, and with all of your might."  Live those words, sweet boy...

Because He loves you.  Deeply and wildly...
And just like us..... He sees you, and He smiles.....
~ My firstborn.  Our Joy.
~ Sweet, gentle spirit.
~ Tender sibling love.
~ Quiet & thoughtful - Funny & silly.
~ Lover of Creation.
~ Tender with God's creatures.
~ Patient & Gracious.
~ Honest & Real.
~ Watching you grow - and the gift of being your Mama.
~ Hearing your heart.
~ Seeing you become more and more - so much like your Daddy.
~ Loving you - just the way you are - and feeling so very thankful and honored.
~ Remembering the baby who grew this girl into a woman.
~ Knowing the boy who squeezes my heart taut with love.
~ And praying for the man I see you becoming....

#5086-5100 ~ My Joy Journey

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