As I lay here snuggling blankets that smell like you, clinging to the idea that you’ll only be a baby a few weeks more, I’m swept away by the emotions and memories tugging at my heart. The smell of you wraps me in a hundred feelings, and all I want to do is pick you up and pull you close. It doesn’t seem possible that you’ve been on this earth for almost 365 days, and yet, it also feels like you’ve always been part of me. I was meant to be your mom. Every ounce of my being loves every part of you. I love the way your face lights up when you see me. I love the way the little strands of hair around your ears curl. I love the way you kick up your legs in the stroller when we go for walks. I love how your make a “mmmm” sound when you love the way something tastes. The list of what I love about you goes on forever. Trust me.
And as you grow and continue to become more you, there a few things that I hope you never forget…
- I tell you every day, usually 100 times a day, but I say it on repeat because I mean it: You are so special. You have something to offer the world that no one else has. I feel so lucky to help you and watch you discover what that something is.
- You’re stronger than you think. I’ve watched you learn to roll over, learn how to feed yourself, learn how to crawl, learn how to anticipate something, learn how to put together and take apart puzzles. This has been a year of learning. And you know what? A lot of those things have been pretty tough! But one of my favorite things about you is your resilience. The first day you tried to walk, you acquired three face bruises, and despite your battle wounds, you persevered. Walking didn’t happen overnight (or for many months), but that didn’t stop you from moving forward.
- You are so silly! Your laugh is the best. It’s so infectious that it makes everyone around you laugh. I love how silly faces and voices make you collapse in hysterics. So often people lose their silly side as they age, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Getting to be silly with you has reinvigorated my love for the ridiculous and crazy that makes life worth living. The world needs a little more silliness.
- Hug and kiss and hold hands. I know that I kiss you so much that it doesn’t even resonate, that kissing one another is like breathing because we do it so often. You were part of me for 9 months. I had you attached to my body for 9 months. Having you exist outside of my body means I need to pull you close as often as possible. I realize our constant affection will shift as you get older, but I hope we never lose our tenderness for touch. There’s nothing better than seeing a little diapered baby crawl towards me at turbo speed, grab my face in both of his hands, and give me the drooliest kiss known to man. You, my sweet one, give the best kisses.
- You have your daddy’s kindness. I can already see in your actions that you care deeply for others. One day I got off the phone and was frustrated. Exhaustion and defeat got the better of me, and I just sat and cried. You stopped playing, crawled over to me, positioned yourself in my lap and just kept stroking my face. Without me saying a single word, you knew. That kind of intuition can’t be taught, it’s just part of who you are.
I hear parents say all the time how tough adjusting to life with a baby is, and I won’t disagree that we’ve had our moments, but as crazy as it sounds, adding you into the mix of our lives felt so natural. You were meant to be ours. I’ve been praying for you for as long as I can remember. You were so, so wanted, my tiniest love, and I can’t imagine life without you. Thank you for making our lives fuller, happier, and more complete than we ever thought possible. You can do anything you set your mind to, and we’re here to support you and love you every step of the way. Happy first birthday, baby.