Kaden Quint.
My biggest boy.
My "Gentle, Dark One."
My boy who is growing into a teenager right before my very eyes.

  Twelve years ago, you birthed me into Motherhood, and my life has been forever changed.

There was a day -- many many lifetimes ago -- when I thought I never wanted babies.  I was a teacher.  Daddy was a youth pastor.  We were coaches together.  We were surrounded by kids all day, and we both enjoyed coming home to a quiet, tidy house that was just filled  But, things change, and God is the best story teller anyway.  And when we let Him write the pages of our lives....He does a far better job than we could ever think of doing.....even if the whole idea of it all was pretty scary to this young girl who always made babies cry whenever she held them.

Your Dad and I have become experts at doing scary things....and at doing things that we said we'd NEVER do....but those are stories for another day.  You were one of my very first majorly scary leaps of in which I felt a great burden of responsibility with very little preparation and instruction on how to do this whole thing called Motherhood.  I remember I had watched the movie Alien previous to being pregnant, so during my entire pregnancy, I wondered if you were trying to explode out of my belly.  Ha!  I remember telling my own Mama that I wasn't maternal and I was certain I was going to ruin this child growing within me.
Your first football camp.  
And -- SO clearly, I remember the day of your birth.  You being passed around from person to person.  Me looking on - still in disbelief that you were mine and that I had made you.  And I remember you starting to cry and your Grammy saying:  "Oooh!!  He needs his Mama."

I remember the world standing still and me panicking inside -- knowing that this was the moment when all of the world would know that I was a fraud and that I was not going to be able to soothe your cries.  But soon as you were back in my arms, you nestled in, and you burrowed deep....and just like that you stopped your crying....and it was in that instant that we were bonded.

You knew me, you were comforted by me, and you were mine. are one of my deepest joys.  And you are one of my greatest accomplishments.
I am SO very proud of you.  I am honored and blessed to have you call me Mom.

We are so very different, you and I.  People say you look more like my side of the family....but you surely have your father's personality.  You think like him.  You act like him.  You have his quick wit and funny sense of humor.  You don't love being in the spotlight....and I can embarrass you really easily in public.  I love watching you with your friends -- your quiet confidence and your contentment in just being yourself.  And I love watching your younger siblings look up to you and the love and admiration that they have for you.

It's a big responsibility being the oldest brother.  One that you wear pretty well.  Thank you for your grace and patience with the Littles in the house.  Thank you for your gentleness with your little sister.  I love watching you with her.  I love the kisses you so freely give to her....and the open love and affection that you show her.  You are showing her - already - how she deserves to be treated.  And you are giving her - already - a standard to hold onto and to expect.  I love that.

I love you, Kaden.  I love the young man you are growing into.  I love your gentle tenderness toward things that are smaller and weaker than you.  I love your love for the outdoors and your passion for hunting and fishing.  I love listening to you play the piano and seeing your gifts starting to more and more rise to the surface.

I'm trying to savor these last years that I have you still under our roof.  The time frame has tilted, and the countdown of  years before you leave us is so much closer than I even want to think about right now.  I love our morning coffee together.  I love playing Cribbage with you at the counter.  I love our family vacations to Rangeley and watching you be in your glory in the Great Outdoors.  I love how you are quiet all day long until your Daddy and I are ready to go to bed and then suddenly you turn into a Chatty Pants with more energy than you've had all day long.  And I love waking you in the mornings when you are deep in sleep -- tracing your features with my fingers and memorizing your face that is still Boy....but ever changing into Man......

I love you, Kade.  And I am proud of you.
Thank you for your grace with this Mama who makes multiple daily mistakes and who often is at a loss for words and wisdom on this whole Journey of Motherhood.  My prayer for you is my prayer for all of you kids.  I pray that God will "make you dangerous for His purposes so you can make a difference in your generation." ~ (Mark Batterson, Praying Circles Around Your Children).  I pray that you will fall in love with Jesus.  That you will make Him the Lord of your life in every single area.  And that you will surround yourself with godly friends who will challenge you in your walk and who will make you better.  I pray for bold faith, for strong convictions, for tender love and kindness - for you to be an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.....and for you to be open and willing....and ready to allow God to speak into your life and to write your story how He sees fit.

I pray "that you grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." ~ Luke 2:52

Watch your Daddy, Sweet Boy.
See how he does life.  See how he loves your Mama well and how he makes his family priority.
See how he seeks the heart of Jesus....and how he leans in....even when he maybe feels it's hard to trust.  Keep treating your sister the way that you are doing......and treat every other girl who you are not related to the way that you would want them to treat London.

I pray that you will always talk to us, and that you will always know that we are safe.
We will always be on your side.  There is nothing you could ever do to make us love you any less, and there is nothing you could ever do to make us love you any more.

Happy 12th Birthday....two months late, but still in the books for our memories..
Happy last year before you are a teen.
You're the coolest, Kade..

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