Letter to O On His 1st Birthday

Dear O,

I can’t believe you’ve been a part of our lives for a whole year.  Part of me can’t remember life before you, and part of me is still surprised when I look at you and realize that you are mine and that we made you. Crazy.  This has been the hardest, and best, year of my life.  Hardest because you totally disrupted our happy little life together, turning it upside down with your constant immediacy, your constant needs.  When you need something, there is no “wait one second”, you need me right then.  Happiest because I look at your face, so joyous and happy and content, so trusting and ready to explore the world, so sure that the world is there for your taking and I am so proud you are mine. Happiest because I have never been needed like this, because I have never ever loved anything more than I love you. And I never will.

You were always a good baby, even before you were born. I loved being pregnant with you, you didn’t make me feel sick or give me any weird pains. You just grew quietly, until you started kicking and flipping, and it was like we lived in our own world together, just you and me. Nobody else was needed. Then you were born. You were 10 days late, totally content to just hang out where you were.  The doctor finally forced you out and let’s just say that labor was the most intense, painful experience of my life so far.  Though in retrospect, you came out pretty fast and pretty easily.  It’s all a blur, but I do remember we listened to Willie Nelson over and over, with some Kings of Leon mixed in.  The song “Use Somebody” will always remind me of you, it seemed like it was constantly playing in the final few weeks when I was waiting around for you. You were born and they handed you over to me, and I gotta admit, you looked really weird.  You were gray and skinny, wrinkly and you had your arms and legs intertwined like you were praying.  I thought I would instantly recognize you, that I would take one look at you and think “of course that’s what he looks like”.  But I didn’t. You were a stranger, your own complete person, and though you needed me desperately for food and comfort, you were self-contained.

The first few days were a blur, but eventually we settled into a routine. You were such a good baby, only cried when you were hungry or tired, otherwise content to just hang out and look around. You never liked being held like a baby, and always insisted on trying to lift your head up and look around at the world, even when you were really too weak to hold your head up on your own.  You loved the swing and spent hours in it, just looking around and sleeping. You sat up and crawled pretty early, at six months and you’ve been on the move ever since. No looking back.

Now at a year, I look at you and think “Of course that’s my baby. Of course this what you look like.” You have your dad’s white blonde hair, full lips, and good disposition. You have my smile and fiery personality.  I’m afraid you have my teeth. You are feisty and bold, a born leader and explorer. You aren’t afraid of anything so far. You jump in, head first and decide if you like something later.  You laugh often and a lot. I hope you have his patience, his sense of humor, his sense of right and wrong, his organizational skills and his teeth. I hope you have my sense of adventure, my love for words and stories, my ability to see the gray.  I hope you have his quickness of mind, but my creative side.  I hope you have my great ideas, and his follow-through.  I hope you have your own thoughts, dreams and ideas.

I look at you, and you have your whole life ahead of you. No heartbreaks yet, you haven’t learned that there are limitations in life, that there are things you cannot do. You haven’t spoken a real word yet, your first words, first run, first time catching a ball, are all in front of you. We don’t know yet if you’re a lefty or a righty.

What I hope for you is this. That you live life fully. That you still throw yourself into everything you do, with your whole heart.  That you still don’t accept that there are limitations in life.  That you don’t take no for an answer. That you find something you love, and work harder at it than anyone else around you, that you find joy in your work.  That you love deeply and forgive others for their faults.  That you go away to college and travel the world and see things you only dreamed of.  I wish for you to be happy.

I am so grateful you have come into our lives.  You have taught me patience. You have shown me that there is something bigger than myself.  You have shown me pure love and pure laughter. You have reminded me that it’s the littlest things that are the biggest things in life. Love. Laughter. Family.

Happiest birthday wishes to my sweet baby boy.

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