“I love that baby.”
If you were in Mommy and Daddy’s room at night, that’s what you’d hear more than once. Every night we gaze at the screen, awed by your tiny hands, a pacifier in one and your lovey in the other, your back rising and falling slowly in a deep slumber. We watch as you stretch your pudgy legs, the soft mattress contouring your body. We smile as you drift further into the kind of sleep we wish we could have.
“I swear. I just love that kid.”
These words are said with love, awe and disbelief.
We love you more than we can possibly say. I make a living crafting messages, yet can’t find a phrase to accurately describe how I feel about you. I don’t think those words exist, but I’ll try: This love is deep, constant. I’m grateful that you chose me; overjoyed that I get to be your Mama.
The love I have for you is unexpected. It’s not that I didn’t expect to love you — of course I’d love you. I anticipated the love to be like a tsunami, a tidal wave of maternal instinct and affection washing over me the second I laid my eyes on you. Instead, it was steady and strong. It came in like a babbling brook: pure and untarnished. It filled my heart slowly and continuously until it ran over. It’s still running over.
It will always run over.
Your Daddy and I are in awe of you, of the little person you’re becoming. Every squeal, smile, step and sound you make amazes us. Every day you’re learning more. The memories of sleepless nights, two-hour feedings, swaddle blankets and bassinets are fading as fast as the food on your high-chair tray disappears — which is very quickly these days.
At a year old, you’re crawling everywhere, climbing over us when we play in the floor with you. You love to take things out of boxes and put them back in. You love the dog. God, do you love that dog. You like to hand her toys and watch as she shakes them in your mouth. There isn’t much that makes you smile bigger, other than Daddy hanging out upside down or when I walk in the door after work.
You babble all the time. You can say dada, mama, baba and other random sounds. You spout off sentences of gibberish with such drama, affect and enthusiasm, I swear you were actually telling a story. Sometimes I sit and listen to you and realize I’m not saying anything back because I’m too awed by how perfect you are. So just remember, I’m listening even if I don’t respond.
I’ll always be listening.
It’s with disbelief that I say “Happy First Birthday, Baby”. How did this year go by so quickly? Where is that tiny baby I brought home from the hospital that sweltering day last November? Those days are over and sometimes it terrifies me that we’ll never get that time back. You’ll never be a newborn baby again. That fear is always replaced with excitement over what comes next: walking, playing, talking; snuggles and weekend mornings watching cartoons; school and sports. We have so much to be thankful for and so much to look forward to.
We made the most amazing, perfect, beautiful, good natured baby I’ve ever known. Thank you, God, for this blessing.
Happy Birthday, my sweet boy. I’m forever changed because you’re in my world.
I just love ya, Kid.