Dear Baby J,
Happy Birthday! One year ago today, I was...well, let's be honest, I was completely overwhelmed, drugged and loopy, and awfully tired. But THEN, later, when I was finally myself, there you were. Small, sleeping, sucking, squirming, and so...present. And most of that hasn't changed. You are now everpresent, omnipresent, superpresent in my life. And though it's cliched, I really do struggle to remember a time before you consumed my thoughts. I wonder about you; I worry about you. I wish for you great and grand wishes I can't even articulate and small daily wishes to make your life simpler, richer, better. I've only just stopped listening for your breathing at night, but I still feel comforted when I do hear you. I celebrate your milestones, catch you when you fall, call you when you're out of sight, and control my urges to protect you too much.
In the past year, we've both grown. You have learned how to be a baby and now are learning how to be a toddler. You've developed likes (Barnyard Dance, Carol of the Bells, puppies, balloons) and dislikes (green beans, closed doors, taking naps, the changing table). You've become more independent each day, moving from rolling over to sitting up to crawling away as quickly as you can, laughing over your shoulder, but you still hope someone is there to chase you. You've learned to feed yourself and read your books and find your ball and jump and sing and laugh. You have an amazing attention span and are willing to sit alone and play by yourself for much longer than a child your age should, which makes both of us happy. You are so close to talking it feels to your daddy like one day you will just spout out full sentences. You have a deep laugh and a teasing giggle, and you do both frequently. They say all too soon I'll miss the baby you were, but I love the quirky, funny little boy you've become.
Your face is your father's, your hair and eyes are a mystery, but your hands are my hands. When you finally arrived on the scene a year ago, the nurse said "who gave him these short, stubby little fingers?" You should know I'm the guilty party. Your hands are duplicates of my own, down to the creases at the knuckles. When I nursed you and now when I give you a bottle, I often watch your hands as you intertwine your fingers with mine, a favorite pastime for us both. And when I see your hands, I know that you are mine. Your hands are evidence that you are with me, of me, now and forever, and your presence determines the rhythm of my days and the duration of my nights. One year ago today you can to live with us and changed everything. The changes you brought into my life and the changes you have wrought in me continue unabated, and I can say in all sincerity, today I am very happy indeed to celebrate your birth. And tomorrow, and the next day and the next, I will be ever happy to celebrate your life.
With all the love you have taught me to have,