For quite a few years I have felt honored to write “about you” and not “to you” on your birthday each year. It was always a joy to walk down memory lane as I recalled the year I had spent with you and all the things you taught me while we learned together, this whole mother and son thing.
I loved it more then anything, because it gave others a chance to see you in the light that I see you. Every mother loves her son, her children, in ways that no other person on the earth can love them. I am not an exception to the rule, but I will say that my love for you is really hard to define.
Because the word love doesn’t seem adequate when I think about you. So this year, instead of writing to recall the memories, I want to change it all and I want to speak a blessing over you as you enter the new world of double digits.
Cayden, you my son are going to move mountains. Just this very morning, driving back from our morning run, the run that you smoked me in, I asked you your “why” for training for your 2nd half marathon. I had anticipated to have some serious heart felt reason to why you want to abuse your body and push it limits that most sane adults will never attempt to do.
Instead as we drove down one of the many hills I begin to despise during training season, you showed me another side of you. “Because I want to better myself as a runner…because I want to be faster then…” was your reply.
I paused, quickly formulated my response and told you “son, you have to have a good reason to want to run, one that is not laced with pride. Pride will lead you to places that won’t ever satisfy”. I then told you that Ken told me that every good runner finds their why and doesn’t let go of it, because without a why, a runner eventually decides to find other things to do.
I didn’t want us to pass this opportunity to discuss one of the things you are going to face, over and over again, because of the very man you are growing into. Manhood, mini-manhood for you has been one INTENSE year for this momma of yours.
You have proven more times then I want to admit that you are in fact a man in training and a you aren’t afraid of your calling. The near electrical fire that happened this summer, showed me that you had a more level head then your stressed out mother. I was met with your cool calm demeanor and a quick action plan to my slightly hysterical reaction.
Your quick thinking had you grab your sisters and get them outside to safety while I was running for the fire extinguisher. On that day, you showed me that you were and are ready for your call.
So many times when we butt heads, its not over another round on the game console or whether or not you are allowed to stay out just a few minutes later. Instead its over things like allowing you to stay up and watch a comedian with us, because you can understand each joke that is geared for adults. Your sarcasim and quick wit can be the thing that makes my head go 360 when those thoughts rush down your head and out of your mouth before you had the chance to determine if the risks were worth it.
Will you remember with laughter or distain the little white bar of soap that has teeth marks in it when you have a mouthy son or daughter of your own?
As you have learned the ups and downs of making and keeping friends in the entitled generation you are growing up in, I have never spent more time praying for you. You see the wrongs, you don’t bend and you can’t comprehend why the world always is forcing their beliefs on you and they can’t accept yours. Justice fighter is a role that you valiantly own.
I recently heard you inform your sister to go and change her clothes, after you told her “reach up and touch your toes, if anything shows go change your clothes”. She told you that you weren’t her boss, which you replied, “go change your clothes, nobody is going to see that”. I hesitated. I wondered, am I suppose to get involved?
But then, when I saw her in a changed outfit, she wan’t sulking, she wasn’t pissed off, instead she was laughing with you in the kitchen as she was packing her lunch. She knew in her 8 year old wisdom that she had a brother who cared about her value and how the world sees and receives her.
It was on our recent trip to Hawaii that I got to see the pieces of you that I have wondered if the world in its darkness had began to chip away at.
You see, I only get to see you for an hour or two in the morning, most school afternoons are tied up with sports or a commitment your dad and I are carrying, which leaves us with a few hours in the evenings with you. You spend the bulk of the day away from me. Which means, alot of the times, I see the hard unfilterd moments, knowing, because of assurance from your teachers that you are the star pupil, helper and friend to everyone you come in contact with.
We were visiting some friends who were in Kauai as well and we had been enjoying their beautiful beach lawn. You and your sisters made quick friends with the other traveling kids and your parents were lost in conversation with our friends. It was then asked, “where is boo (Ya’el)”. Your dad, with Veil in his arms quickly went one direction, Nana went another. But what happened next, still brings too many strong emotions to my heart.
I found myself in a nail biting race with you, the iced drink in hand on the hot day was all over the lawn and there you and I were in a dead sprint, barefoot feet on the pavement. You were the first to scoop up the screaming 3 year old that had concerned people trying to comfort from a safe distance. Even though in her fear and misplaced anger at you, she fought you off, you still held her until I was there. The wall of lost kids on Walmart’s wall has left a permanent awareness of the evil in the world for your heart.
You were you, protector, fighter, responder.
Cayden, you my son, are no longer a child. You don’t think like a child, you don’t reason like a child. I don’t know how to feel about it. I wonder if this broken world has robbed you too soon of things your little body and mind should be enjoying with some innoscence.
Your first counseling session with our family counselor exposed the very thing that we believed has been the root of your anger. Your inability to place trust in God, trust him with Ezzy and the cystic fibrosis, has left you feeling utimately responsible for her. That somewhere in your 9 years, you have carried her longevity of life as your own battle. Yes, you were angry when we didn’t devulge the whole truth of the meeting that day, but you came home and told me what you learned. How “it wasn’t your job” to keep her healthy.
It has been a year that I believe we are going to be able to look back with fond memories as we look through the endless photos I have taken, documenting your’s and your sister’s stories. We have had big moments that shaped our family, made us dig deeper into our faith, but also moments that have caused us to step aside and watch you grow into the man God created you to be so long ago.
William Cayden Harney, I pray that God in all his goodness will continue to be the loudest voice in your head. That the desire to do better, will not come from the world’s standards, but instead come from heaven above. I pray that as you continue to learn to be a friend, while still standing for what is right, that you will lead your peers to truth and not lead them astray, that you will never misuse the influence God has given you. I pray that your humor will be something that is not used as a shield for your emotions, but used when you see hurting people that need something to laugh about. I pray that as you care for the women in your life, that you will continue to learn to give them love and patience because you care about their hearts, more than you care about being in charge, that you will continue to sacrificial love in a way that your friends are compelled by.
Today you are 10 years old. Today you are leaving behind the single digits, the digits that are laced with boyhood, a naiveness of the world and instead entering the doubles where you are going to continue to develop a keen awareness of how things work.
Don’t forget that God called you to be his soldier, not the world’s. I know that you have many battles yet to face, but I believe that as long as you, along with the help from us, keep going back to God to be your general, you my son are going to change the world.
Happy birthday, my one and only son