To my baby, on your first birthday

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My darling baby boy,

Today you are one year old. A whole year since that exhausting, frantic, world-changing day when you entered our lives. Today you are a man. Oh no, wait. That’s what you say when it’s your Bar Mitzvah. We still have twelve years until that whole deal. For now, you are still a baby. Officially a toddler. Just saying that word, “toddler,” makes my heart hurt a bit. Weren’t you just this wee little thing curled up on my chest five seconds ago? Please stop growing so fast. I’m not ready.

How amazing it has been to watch you change every day, learning and exploring and discovering. So much development packed into one year. You’re crawling now and so curious about the world around you. I love watching your little brain work as you try to figure out how to shut your bedroom door (a glimpse into what is to come, I’m sure), or how to take an object from one spot and hide it somewhere else (usually in a pair of shoes). You have turned the mundane into the extraordinary. I could sit and watch you all day. For the most part, that is exactly what I do.

The beginning of our time together wasn’t easy. Let’s face it, we were both miserable. You cried all the time. I cried all the time. You didn’t sleep. I didn’t sleep. We threw ourselves a pity party and it felt like the party would never end.

But then it did end.

A cloud lifted and we both decided, hey, this is kinda great. You saved your first smile just for me when you knew I so desperately needed it. And then you laughed, and that was pretty much the end of me. You know that feeling where you’re somehow sad and overwhelmingly happy at the same time? When you feel so much emotion that you can’t even describe it? That’s how I feel when you giggle. Your infectious howl shoots straight through me. How did I create this magical little being? Sometimes I swear I must be dreaming. To be this lucky. There’s a really corny saying: After every storm comes a rainbow. Or something like that. You are the most spectacular rainbow after a really nasty storm. Not a day goes by where I don’t appreciate your many vibrant colours.

As I was going through another round of “what do I want to do with my life” recently, I asked myself, if I found out that I didn’t have a long time to live, how would I spend the time I had left? And the answer was so clear: I would spend it with you. I’m already living my dream life. You are it, baby boy.

I dreamt about you for so long, even when I was worried the dream might not come true. And now that you’re here, you are so much more than I ever could have imagined. I won’t say I didn’t know what happiness was before you came into my life, because that’s kind of a silly thing to say. But I will tell you that I’ve never known this particular kind of happiness. I’ve never felt a more pure sense of joy than when you look at me. Like I am your whole world. Guess what? You are my whole world. You are everything.

What is it that I love about you? I could go on forever, and the list would be much too long. I love your wild head of hair that makes strangers come up to us wherever we go. I love how you scream with glee and crawl to the door when your daddy comes home from work each day. I love that you’re sensitive and gentle with others, without me having to teach you to be that way. I love all the silly sounds you make; they are the sweetest sounds I have ever heard. I love your toes and your fingers, and watching those fingers wrap themselves around mine. I love your kisses, when you finally give in and plant one on me. I love how you make even grumpy people in the grocery store smile and laugh. You’re already making this world a better place and you’re only a wee baby. I think that’s pretty special. You are pretty special.

Sometimes my mind wanders way into the future, and I imagine all of your firsts. First day of school. First sleepover. First best friend. First crush. First love. First heartbreak. So much of life ahead of you. But none of that right now. For now, for a little bit longer, you are still my baby.

Actually, scrap that.

You will always be my baby.

Happy birthday, baby. How wonderful life is while you’re in the world.

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