Dear Hayden,

Soon, you’ll be turning six.

And though you don’t like to sit in one place for long, I watch you when you do, taking in your little quirks that bring a smile to my face. Like the evening you colored diligently, making sure to stay within the lines, with furrowed brows and a tongue peaking over your bottom lip, pausing long enough to look up for reassurance. Your shy smile gives no indication of the bold personality you possess, the one that says, ‘That’s what I’m talkin’ about,‘ when you learn I’m making breakfast for dinner.

I love the questions you ask me, like why the male host at the restaurant is wearing guy-liner, how Santa lost weight from the time you saw him a week ago, and if we can ride around the neighborhood to watch a movie on the DVD player in our new car. Sometimes my answers aren’t satisfying, and instead of the usual ‘Why’s that?’, you often rattle off phrases of disgust, as in ‘Well, that makes no sense,’ ‘That’s just stupid,‘ or ‘Really…mom?‘, as if to say…that’s all you got?, then you dash off to find a football helmet that you will inevitably wear indoors for the next thirty minutes.

The little things in life are what make this world go round, and you live for ’em. Gumball machines near the exit doors at restaurants, couch time with your Dad, and a sucker from a Meijer employee are all grounds for a good day in your eyes. Simple things aside, you’re the only boy I know who likes a ziplock bag full of bacon in their lunchbox, will happily skip dessert, and who blushes when the waiter asks to take your order.

I am proud of all you’ve accomplished over the past year, and wish you a bright future full of happiness. Much like the happiness you bring your family, including your older brother who giggles at your silly ways, like the time you snuck his sports glasses to school and wore them all day long. You’re the bounce in this shindig called life. Here’s to you, Hayden.

Happy Birthday, blue eyes.