Dear David Allen Haynes,
You would have been 1 year old today. I would have rubbed the icing from your birthday cake in your hair just like I did to both of your brothers on their first birthdays.
I would have put you on my shoulders and asked, “Where’s David” until you stretched your tiny body around my head, giggling and laughing and smiling so I knew where you were.
I would have stolen your nose. It’s OK; I’d give it back. And when you tried to take mine by just pawing at it, I would have made a honking noise, making you think every time my nose is touched, it makes a sound.
I would corrupt you like your brothers and sisters before you. I’d teach you to say words like “swag,” “sup dog” and “suit up.”
I’d be a great uncle to you. I have references.
We’d build forts and wrestle and play hide-and-go-seek. I would cheat and peek at where you went, but I’d let you run and crawl back to base, pretending that I can’t catch you. I could catch you if I wanted. Your uncle Allen is a gazelle. I’d teach you what a gazelle is.
I’d teach you all about the Gators and about Tim Tebow and Chris Doering. I’d teach you to hate FSU and love the fact that our first championship came by beating them. We’d do the Gator chomp together with your dad and brothers at baseball games. I’d show you my classrooms on campus and where the bats fly out at night.
I’d read to you. I’d read you stories about dragons and princesses, and I’d teach you how to talk to real-life princesses when you got older.
I’d be such a great uncle to you.
We’d watch Toy Story and Lion King. We’d find Nemo, and I’d put you in a chair full of balloons and lift you in the air when we watched UP.
I would color with you and put your pictures on my fridge.
As you got older I would call you my “mini me” and explain that you have a lot to live up to with “Allen Haynes” on your birth certificate, but I would tell you how I believe you’ll be a better Allen Haynes than I am, and I’d make sure you were.
But most of all I would hold you. I would tell you how much I love you. I’d tell you that David means “beloved” and that Allen means “handsome.”
I’d hold you in my arms in say, “You are David Allen. You are handsome and loved. Do you know that, David?”
I’m so excited to hang out with you one day, but for now I’m jealous that you get to chill with Jesus, and I just get your parents. Just kidding. They’re pretty cool. Don’t tell them I said that though.
Looking forward to seeing you again.