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an open letter to my one year old son

we're having a great end of the week here.

my mom and dad are here visiting for cade's birthday (which is today - more on that below). last night we ate out at this awesome bbq rib place, and i raised my cholesterol a good 450 points in one sitting. awesome. after dinner we went to this ice cream/farm market place that has goats that the kids can feed and a ball pit to play in. here's jack having a good time...

but the weekend isn't about jack. this is cade's weekend, though he doesn't know it. he is one today! he has been carried and bounced and burped around this crazy world for a full year. he's tasted all four seasons, all kinds of weather. he's seen the whole calendar get turned and a new one put on the wall. and yet he barely knows what he's getting into.

last april, just 3 days before he was born, i wrote this letter to caedmon. now, a year later, i feel i should write again...

caedmon charles,

you are one today. you've got one year under your belt, or under your elastic-banded jeans. although i talk to you everyday, i wanted to take this opportunity on this special day to write down my thoughts for you.

you'll remember that last year i talked about my own reservations about your birth into a world and a family that is so broken and selfish. i guess now you don't need me to tell you that. you've seen it. you've seen me get frustrated with you, when at 3:30 in the morning, by no real fault of your own, you are screaming, spewing sandpaper sounds into my exhausted ears. you've seen it. you've seen your mommy and daddy get upset with one another and yell. you've seen, or rather felt, your older brother push and hit you because he thinks that is how he can get you to do what he wants. you've already lived the struggle of physical pain, suffering with perpetual ear infections, and you've faced the fear of the doctor's knife (it was your daddy's fear, really, but you are the one who had to face the hospital smells and the the tiny little hospital gown with the open back. you are brave, little boy).

and so you've been a part of this wild world for a year now. i wonder if you could talk what would you say to me. maybe you'd say, "its ok, dad. i love you. let's not worry too much about the bad stuff. let's just face it and try to make it better as often as we can." or maybe you'd say, "just shut up and get me more snacks."

i'm not sure what you would say. but i know what i want to say: i love you, little caedmon. i love you with a fierce and furious kind of love that cannot be said with letters or hugs or lullabyes or clean diapers or baby talk and rasberries on your incredibly soft belly. it cannot really be said at all, just lived. and its in this living that the loving really comes to life. i've been learning that this whole year. i hope you have too. i love you at night when i watch your back rise and fall in beautiful sleep - you remind me of heaven. i love you when you repeatedly crawl to the cupboard and open the door even when i have also repeatedly told you no and moved you to the other side of the room - you remind me of me. i love you when you dance to any music you hear - you remind me that there is a kind of joy all around us. i love you when you smear yourself with food - you remind me not to be so uptight. i love you when you smile and breath and take a wobbly step and touch me and when you eat and play and cry and laugh and when you watch carefully. i love you all the time - you remind me that love is worth every possible risk.

happy birthday, my beloved little boy. i hope all your years are as full of joy and living as this one. and i hope that someday you'll know what a difference you've already made in this world. thank you.

your adoring daddy,



Emoly said…
HAPPY BIRTHDAY CADE!!! I can't wait to meet you (finally). Here's to many more years with your wonderful family!!!

(greg: this does not mean that you and Shannon can make a pact that I'm the one who gets to get up to take care of said screaming child in the middle of the night while I'm visiting....) ;)
Eric Helms said…
Would you be so kind as to divulge the name of the farm market--sounds like a fun place. And Happy Birthday to Cade.
Anonymous said…
Happy Birthday Cade!!!!! Its a great month to be born in!!!!
someday we will meet you!
Linda,Billy,Scooter,Puddles and Bailey!
greg milinovich said…
eric, i forget the name. i'm sure its a hampton, new jersey address, but its a dinky little place that i don't think would be worth much of a long trip. its only about 5 minutes away for us.

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