To my sweet, handsome boy,
You are one today. I dreamt of the moment I would hold you for the first time. I imagined what you would look like and what your interests would be. Truth be told, I was terrified you were going to look like that scary picture I saw your of Dad as a baby – a story we will tell you when you are older and laugh about forever. I daydreamed about how we would spend our days. And I prayed you would know how much you were loved. But the reality is, that moment I held you for the first time was better than I could have ever imagined. You looked absolutely perfect and I swear you are still the cutest kid I have ever seen. You love to play and go on outings, but you most definitely do not love to cuddle. I still pray you know how much you are loved and I think your smile is your way of telling Mama and Daddy you love us too.
You have grown from a tiny little baby with the wildest hair to a little boy with a big boy haircut – and it’s also a lot lighter now. You are busy and can have quite the attitude if people don’t keep up. You are sure to let us know that your voice is still as loud as the moment you took your first breath. You are tough and you can also be sensitive at times. Some days you think you are superman and others you are as cautious as they come. You love to play with your friends but you also love to play by yourself – mostly in your drawers and in empty boxes.
I love the way you curl your toes under when trying to stand on your tippy toes. I love the way you scrunch your nose and make a sniffly noise when you get really excited. I love the way you giggle when you wake up from your nap. I love your love for music. I love the way you search for your DA every morning – and my heart also breaks as you come to realize that Daddy’s work often takes him from us. The bond you two have is truly special. I love the way you arch your back when I’m holding you because you want me to throw you in the air. And the giggles that come from your tiny body when your Daddy and I throw you back and forth (don’t worry folks, we keep it safe). I love the way you hold my hand as you nurse – it’s kept me going over this past year. I love that you are much like your Mama and you have never met a stranger – I hope your love for people continues to grow and you grow.
I love that despite the challenges this year has thrown us at times, you are a pretty go-with-the-flow baby. We have traveled to Oklahoma to see your Daddy and up to Kansas to see your cousins. We have traveled to the East Coast a few times to visit family. We have taken local road trips around Washington and to Canada, and went to your first water park to celebrate your birthday! You have had an incredible first year and this is just the beginning.
You have taught us that some days you just don’t get out of pajamas and that spit-up is basically an accessory. You have taught us patience. You have taught us to slow down and to enjoy the simple moments in life. You have taught us to see the world around us differently. You have taught us how to survive on little sleep – or maybe you are just learning how to extend grace at a young age! You have taught us about what really matters. You have given us a better glimpse into the love God truly has for us – an unconditional love that words cannot convey.
This year has been the best year of our lives. You have brought your Daddy and I more joy than I can even begin to explain. We are so blessed that God chose us to be your parents and for you to be our son.
Happy Birthday, Caden Hayes.
We love you more than you will ever know. Always and forever.
Mama and Daddy