3 year-old Pictures and Letter

Caden’s 3-year-old pictures absolutely blew me away. I look at him every day and know that he’s 3, but I look at these pictures and see my baby who is barely a toddler anymore and turning into a little boy. I know that I will blink and he will be 12, going off to middle school and 16 and wanting a car and 18 and off to college. I know this is my future and I love the future, I also really love my present.

I wrote this letter to Caden on his 1st birthday and thought that so many of the things I wrote wouldn’t resonate until he was much older and boy was I wrong. I read this list frequently to remind me of the person we are raising and lessons I need to teach him now so that they are part of who he is.


May 2012


My Dearest Caden,


I have spent the first year of your life documenting all the essential lessons and tidbits that I need you to know. I want to be sure that you have this list of things that your Mom thinks is important.


  1. Always be curious and ask a lot of questions
  2. A woman likes a man who will do his own laundry
  3. It’s okay to express your feelings, this isn’t a sign of weakness
  4. If given the opportunity, always dance
  5. Judge a person by their intentions and integrity
  6. Remember your manners and use your napkin
  7. It’s okay to lose, just not regularly. I hate losing more than I want to win. There’s a difference.
  8. Exercise
  9. Say “I Love You” to those you love and do so regularly.
  10. Ask people their name when you meet them
  11. It’s always nice to ask a person what they want for their birthday, but also get them a little something as a thoughtful surprise.
  12. Follow your instinct
  13. Don’t follow a crowd that’s doing wrong
  14. Be the kid who’s nice to everyone. The uncool kid may be your boss someday.
  15. Competition is a good thing
  16. The best Valentine’s gift you can give your loved one is to skip the dinner out and instead stay home and cook for her. Make sure you do the grocery shopping and have flowers on the table.
  17. Play sports or be a part of a team, you learn invaluable lessons
  18. Look people in the eye when speaking to them
  19. Don’t intentionally hurt people’s feelings, but always be honest
  20. Laugh at yourself whenever possible
  21. Be empathetic. Your Dad is the best example of this quality. Follow his lead, always.
  22. Being determined does not mean you are stubborn
  23. Don’t feel bad for your good fortune, but be aware of others less fortunate
  24. Be good to the environment
  25. Eat organically whenever you can
  26. Set boundaries that people cannot cross
  27. It’s okay to say no
  28. Go to college and work doing something you enjoy, but don’t work your life away
  29. Go to the doctor for a checkup every year, even if you feel just fine
  30. Moisturize your skin
  31. Don’t bargain with God, he wins
  32. Make sure you get a few scars as a kid that will be reminders of your childhood when you are an adult
  33. Read
  34. Technology and social media is not a replacement for people
  35. Don’t be the loudest in the room or the quietest.
  36. It’s okay to have a drink or two every once in a while, but not much more than that.
  37. Go to your prom and participate in your graduation ceremony
  38. Family are those people you are related to and wish you were related to
  39. Don’t smoke
  40. I care more about whether you asked any great questions while at school then what you actually learned
  41. Do what you love, do it in the most adventurous place, make sure it helps people
  42. Napoleon said, “A woman laughing is a woman conquered”. He was right. Daddy has had my laughing since I was 15.
  43. There is a vast difference between I need you and I need something from you
  44. When you see crazy coming, cross the street.
  45. Creativity is genius
  46. Be silly
  47. Marry someone who is passionate and who you believe would be a great mother (Italian preferably, lol!)
  48. Don’t like everyone as soon as you meet them. I live by the saying, “before I like you, I don’t like you” and that’s okay.
  49. When you hang around garbage you start to stink so be sure you align yourself with good people
  50. Some families have traditions; our Italian family has lots of them. Follow traditions.
  51. If you’re good at something make sure you get paid for it.
  52. Be smart, thoughtful and considerate, always.


I love you so much my dear baby and hope that my lessons will mean something to you at different points of your life.






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