You are still tiny, and you love mama most. Your little fingers fit into mine. You love snuggles, and kisses, and great big hugs. You are smaller than me and look up to me with that round face and those big eyes with so much adoration. 

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You are soft and sweet, and silly and wild. 

You are honest and excited about most anything that comes your way. 

Some day, I know the world will try to change this without saying it or maybe they will say it. They will say things like: 

“Too sensitive.”

“Too shy.”

“Don’t cry.”

“Toughen up.”

They will try to put you in a box: “That’s for girls.” 

They are half right. It is also for girls. 

Also, sonbeing gentle, kind, and sensitivethat is a human thing. Not a boy thing. Not a girl thing. It’s an everyone thing. It’s what makes the world a better place. 

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I know you will naturally want to snuggle less in years to come. The hugs may be fewer. I will likely look up to the face of a young man, instead of down at your round chubby cheeks. 

I know you will grow up. But part of growing up doesn’t have to be growing hardened by the world. Share your feelings. Voice those feelings with your words and not your fists. Voice them with a calm and collected voice. Yelling and being louder isn’t being a man. 

Help others. Serve your future partner. Wrap up and snuggle those future babies. It’s important for all of the babies. But, especially if you have a son.

I hope you give him this same message as you snuggle him up and give him a big hug. Play pretend wild things and run and wrestle . . . but also nurture and give and speak softly. 

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Because this world is full of so much pain and hard things. Part of making it beautiful, or “being a man” is not letting the hard get to your heart. It’s not packing all of those feelings up tightly into a box and shoving them down deep. 

I guess what I want you to know most of all is that being vulnerable and kind is not weak.

You will never regret it. 

Don’t let them steal your gentleness.

Hannah Dearth

Hannah is a Christian, Ohioan, wife, mother of 2 (ages 4 and 1) and soon to be foster momma. At <a href=" she writes about faith, motherhood, and more, in efforts to show the grace of our Father even in, especially in, our brokenness.