Sunday, September 11, 2016

Dear Ward

Dear Ward:

You are one year old today.  One year old.  I can hardly believe it.  I don't know where the last 12 months have gone, and I am having a hard time articulating how I am feeling on your very first birthday.  I've spent most of the day trying not to watch your birth story on repeat and cry.

When you're old enough to read this, I suppose you'll be old enough to know that you were quite a big surprise for Mommy and Daddy.  A big (literally, at 8 lbs 9 oz...but big brother Craft still has you beat!), squishy, handsome, wonderful surprise.  Your first year of life has been nothing short of chaotic.  I can't count the number of times during your first months that I brought you inside from running errands and didn't remember to take you out of your car seat for at least an hour.  You never seemed to mind, though - you'd laugh at your big brother and big sister, or play with your toes, or sleep.

Speaking of your big brother and big sister, they adore you.  I worried a lot when you were still in my belly that Lilly and Craft might resent you or be jealous of you, but from the moment you entered the world it was like you'd been here all along.  That's not to say that there haven't been jealous moments, but they love you so much, and it's such a joy to watch the three of you together.  Lilly and Craft both love to help take care of you - they want to help feed you, and change you, and play with you, and lately they've both started picking you up underneath your arms and carrying you around, or dragging you away from whatever it is they're playing with that you're trying to destroy.  I have a feeling that the three of you are going to get in lots of trouble together - especially you and your big brother.  Even Layla tolerates you poking her and pulling her hair, which is a testament to both your persistence as well as your sweet demeanor.

You are such a happy baby.  People who don't spend as much time with you as we do often say that you are serious, but I think you're just observant.  You like to study your surroundings and take it all in.  People you aren't as familiar with have to work harder to make you laugh, but once you warm up and flash that little dimple you are much more giving with your smiles.  I have a feeling that sweet dimple will get you anything you want, always.

You are the definition of a snuggle bug, when I can get you to sit still (and these days sitting still is rare!).  When you were smaller, you used to curl your little body into mine and nuzzle my neck.  Even now, when you are tired, or you're not feeling well, or just want some mama time, you will tuck your little head under my chin and snuggle up and I am positive that there is no better feeling in the world.  You rarely let me rock you to sleep anymore, but you have obliged for the past couple of days, and I have taken full advantage.  

I've spent the last year of my life trying to embrace the chaos.  I am constantly wishing that there were more hours in a day, or worrying that one of you isn't getting enough attention, or feeling guilty that I haven't written many blog posts about you, and the list goes on and on.  It's not easy, this stage of life, but I am so, so glad that you are part of our crazy chaos.  You have taught me so much about myself over the past year: that life isn't always easy, but that I am strong and I can do anything I put my mind to.  You have taught me to ask for, and graciously accept, help from my village (and thank God for our village!).  You have taught me to love and appreciate your Daddy even more than I did before, because he does so much for all of us.  You have taught me to slow down and to try to be present in the moment.  You have taught me to let go and let loose sometimes, and to try not to worry so much.  But most of all, you have taught me, just as your brother and sister before you, what it feels like to love absolutely unconditionally with my whole entire heart.

So, to my sweet baby boy, on the very last "first birthday" I'll get to celebrate: I could not possibly love you any more.  I am not sure how any year could top this past one, but I can't wait to watch you grow (although if you would slow down a little bit, my heart would greatly appreciate it).  I am so, so proud to be yours and Lilly's and Craft's mama - it has been both the most challenging and the most rewarding accomplishment to date.  I know your Daddy would agree that you are the best surprise we've ever gotten.


Happy Birthday, sweet boy.

Love, 

Mama

  



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