July 15th. Today you are one, baby boy. How that happened so quickly I will never know. This weekend we will celebrate all that is you – with your first cupcake with Nana, a party in “our” park with friends, and a day at the zoo. You will have fun and laugh and play your little heart out. It will be perfectly imperfect, just like all 364 days leading up to this point.
For 365 days, I have laid your head down every time you have gone to sleep. I’ve fed you all your meals. I’ve held you every time you cried. Every single one of your beautiful smiles and joyous laughs are echoed by my own. I’ve held your hand for every step you’ve taken. Together we’ve learned so much, and shared every “first”; oh-so-many for you, but many for me, too. I am so proud of you.
Together, we’ve laughed and cried, been scared and brave. We are both learning to speak – you in baby babble and me in Dutch. We’ve learned to roll with the punches, go with the flow, and put ourselves out there. You got a passport at two weeks old, we moved to another country and visited eight more. You have seen things in your little life that some only dream of or read in books. And yet to you, the ladybug on the sidewalk in Paris and the dog in the park in London are the most fascinating things in the world. This is the lesson I have learned from you; I will forever appreciate all the little joys in life, put down my phone and take in the world right under my nose. Because when you are not looking, life passes you by. I promise to look every time you wildly point and chatter excitedly. My world now pauses and my heart stands still with every little smile, when your face lights up as you reach out to your Dad, and as Penny gleefully takes the offered bread crust from your grubby little fingers. Life is slower, but life is good.
I hope you will always share like you share your food and toys and Dad’s shoes with Penny. I hope you always want your Mama as fiercely as you do when it’s time for bed. I hope you never lose your curiosity and adventurous spirit, and that you continue to travel the world. I hope you always have a sense of “home” and the peace home brings you. I hope you continue to light up the room every time you look up and smile. I hope your kindness to all people and animals grows bigger and bigger. I hope your love of music continues, and that those dance moves never stop. And most of all, I hope you always know you are loved.
It seems only yesterday, I found out I was pregnant with you. Somehow even then, your constant pure joy, baby hiccups, and somersaults from within were able to penetrate my shadows in the nights. You have been my shining light ever since. Thank you for all you have taught me along the way. And now, you are one.
How that happened so quickly I will never know, but I have a sneaky suspicion I will say that for days and weeks and months and years to come. And I will try my best to soak up every unscripted moment. To me, you are perfect.
Happy birthday, baby boy. I love you.