Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Happy First Birthday to James

Wow, today is a completely surreal day.  My son is now a year old.  I feel like it was just a few days ago that I was on maternity leave, soaking up the smells of a newborn and learning to live with sleep deprivation.  It feels like it was only a couple weeks ago that I was at my desk with my hand on my belly waiting to feel little baby kicks.

I would live the past year over and over again if I could.  It was a year of magic for me.

We celebrated with a wonderful party in James' honor.  The food was all ready, party favors were wrapped and ready to go, and pictures were strung along the mantle.  All of this was under my control.  What I couldn't be sure of was how James would handle the day.  However, he made me so proud.

He ate almost every bite of his smash cake and tore into his presents like he totally knew what he was doing. 

So, here at one year, I want to write a little love note to my son...

Dear James,

You are one year old today.  It's hard to believe that I've had the privilege of being your mommy for a whole year now.  I've watched you grow from a little newborn who always slept if someone was willing to hold him into an infant who always cried if no one would hold him into a toddler who stretches out his arms and grunts if he wants someone to hold him.

When you first came into our lives you were a blank canvas.  We didn't know who you were or who we were as parents.  Over the past year, we've learned a lot.  As parents, your daddy and I relish in you.  We both love nothing more than to come home at the end of the work day, plop you on the rug in the living room and watch you play.  Almost every morning when you wake up, we carry you into our bed and snuggle.  As you slowly wake up, you start babbling, grabbing at our noses and hands.  We have faith in your ability to grow.  We haven't pushed you to sit up or crawl or stand or walk.  We've just sat back and assumed that you would hit all these milestones in time and you have.

I've also learned a few things about myself as a mother.  I'm not a "tough love" kind of gal.  You went through a fairly long phase where you wanted to be held almost all the time.  You were around 6 months old and could even sit up on your own, but you weren't content to play on your own.  I could've just let you cry, but I didn't have it in me.  Instead, I scooped you up, busted out the baby carrier and held you close.  And, you know what?  You got over it.

I love nursing you.  We've made it one whole year without having to supplement at all.  I'm proud of that.  It's given me confidence that, with the right start, women can have a wonderful, fulfilling nursing relationship with their child.  You are old enough now to tell me when you want to nurse, either by tapping on my chest or pulling my shirt down.  It's usually only early in the morning or right before bed and I happily give in.  You still get up in the night, usually around 5:30 am.  Daddy brings you into our bed and you snuggle up against me and nurse until you fall back to sleep.  I love the coziness of it.  I usually rub your back, which is still baby soft and smooth.

I've learned a lot about who you are.  You are a sensitive kid.  If I tell you "no," you always stop what you are doing and sometimes you even cry because you've been reprimanded.  That's how mommy was when she was little.  For your own sake, we might have to work on developing a thicker skin.  Mommy wishes she had that. 

If you are hungry or tired or sick, you just want to be with mommy or daddy, but if you feel well, you want to be with other people.  We were out to eat the other night and you were so intrigued with the lady at the table next to us.  You could not stop watching her, to the point that we had a hard time feeding you at all.  She got up to leave and as she passed behind your highchair, you threw a piece of your food at her.  I think you were trying to share or maybe just get her attention so you could meet her.

You let your happiness consume you and I love that.  When you smile, it's not just a half-cocked smirk or a slight upturn of the mouth.  It's a full grin, teeth-bared, eyes dancing, feet kicking.  It warms me to the core and makes me willing to sacrifice everything I am and everything I have for you.

I want you to be kind and confident.  I want you to be the kid who is nice to everyone, no matter how different or downtrodden they are.  I want you to find a career that you love and someone to share your life with.  I want you to become a father someday because it's one of the most amazing joys in life.  I want you to work hard, but not let it rule your life.  Most of all, I want you to be happy.  I want to raise a child who has the capacity to be happy.

Love you forever,


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