A Letter to my Son on His 1st Birthday

My sweet little boo,

Today, you turn 1. You have been on this earth for 365 days and even though I have 30 years on you, no other moment in my life was as special as the day you became my son. I remember it so well: The smells, the anticipation, the unknown. You were due on July 26th but then the first week of August rolled around and you were still nice and cozy so we made the decision to evict you because we were ready…Ready to meet you and show you how much love was waiting for you on the outside. I was induced at midnight on August 2nd, so around 8pm that night, Dad and I went to the last dinner we would ever eat as a Family of two. We sat underneath white lights and watched other people go about their evening with such monotony and routine which was a strange feeling, because it felt like we were just counting down the minutes until our lives would change forever. 

On August 3rd, our hospital room smelled of lavender calming spray and the faces were familiar, yet the expressions were varied because amidst the excitement, there were still so many tense moments. The hours leading up to your arrival seem like a blur and a detailed image seared into my memory, all at once. All the pain and fear I felt during that day suddenly disappeared when we finally saw your face, as if someone had opened a window and let it go free. I will never forget the first thing I said to Dad, through the tears streaming down my face: “He is so tiny!” I couldn’t believe how small you were, the most precious thing I had ever laid my eyes on. It’s hard to believe you can love someone that much the second you meet them, but it’s real and it’s powerful. The love, the attachment, the protection, the punched in the gut feeling you get when you think about something hurting you, seconds after seeing your face.

That first night, I pulled your rolling bassinet right next to my bed and watched you sleep. It was dark outside and in the room but your tiny profile was so clear. You were rolled up tight like a baby burrito, wearing a blue and pink hat and very clearly, sporting my nose. We hadn’t even “officially” named you yet but you were already such a part of me. I couldn’t stop the tears from coming. I was overwhelmed with emotion and though I have watched you fall asleep almost every night since that day, I will never forget how you looked on the evening of August 3rd.
The first three months were equally the hardest and best of my life. I was emotional – ALL the time. I cried when I sang you “You are my Sunshine” (and still do - That song just gets to me). I laughed at how your face looked when we burped you (like an old man). I wondered if I would ever feel energized again, because the exhaustion was consuming. We spent so much time just being – sleeping, snuggling, holding, eating, crying, reading, singing. We were up multiple times a night and even though it was tiring, I loved knowing that you were counting on me to comfort you, feed you and help you find your way back to your dreams. It was dark and silent and we were in this together, navigating our way through this new adventure we had begun. We spent this time getting to know each other and it was a relationship I felt so blessed to be in. 

We gave you your first bath in a pasta pot because we felt you were too small for the baby tub – You hated right and rightly so...We had no idea what we were doing! We watched you curl up in a ball on your boppy for naps, after which we sneak out of the room, only to hear you stirring 20 minutes later. We zipped you up in the tiniest swaddles, hoping you would find comfort when moon was high. We read you stories every single night and now, it makes my heart happy to see how much joy you get out of books - Picking ones off your shelf for us to read together. We ate a lot of take out, frozen meals and dinners from our Family (it really does take a village). We went for walks around the block and eventually, to the park which cleared our heads and reminded us that these months were hard but fleeting. 

We heard you belly laugh for the first time and our hearts almost exploded. We watched your eyes light up the first time you saw Mickey Mouse on TV. We sang "Good Morning" to you every day when the sun rose, to which you would smile and kick your feet. You spent hours on your mat, ate your cereal in the giraffe chair and eventually, found so much excitement in the freedom of your walkers, scooting through the kitchen repeatedly. You loved your stacking eggs, the Baby Einstein star and the Little Tikes crab who was just begging you to chase him. You slept all cozy in your rock & play at night but slept better once you were able to turn on your belly in your crib. I kept you in our room as long as possible because I knew once you were in your own, time would move too fast. You loved your swing and it was a sad day for Dad and I when you outgrew it. You loved (and continue to enjoy) the aquarium in your crib and elephant star gazer, both which help you find your way back to sleep at night. 

You did everything ahead of schedule: Started getting teeth at 3 months, walking at 10 months and shortly following, learned how to climb stairs, open doors and basically make our hearts jump out of our chest on a daily basis. Once you began walking, everything was fair game and your curiosity is so precious to watch. You turned into your own little person who prefers strawberries over anything else and dances to anything with a beat ("You Make My Dreams" and "The Wheels on the Bus" are favorites, though). You follow Fitz around the house and laugh at everything he does, especially when he barks. You love being tickled and turned upside down, giggling with glee each time. You listen to us when we're talking as if you understand each word and though I look forward to the day when we can have a conversation, I'll be patient for now (because I know the silence is short-lived).

I know I can't stop time or even pause it, just for a second. I've tried, believe me. No matter how long I linger; Staring at your face, studying your eyelashes, the outline of your mouth or feeling the softness of your feet, it doesn't give us any more time together and really, that's all I want. So many other things used to seem crucial, yet now, I don't even remember what they were. Your happiness and our time as a Family makes everything else seem so small. What saddens me, is that some of the memories have already started to fade. Even though you're only 12 months old, I have a hard time remembering all of the fine details from your first few months of life. Partly because we were just focusing on survival and partly because, the little things tend to fade over time but we have our pictures, our videos and most importantly, the permanent feeling you have created in my heart.

You must always remember:
You are kind. You are smart. You are important. And we are so lucky you are ours.

Happy 1st birthday, my little man...The best is yet to come.

I love you always, 

Your Mama


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