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Dear Baby, You're Almost 1

Photograph by Twenty20

Hey, sweet baby, it’s your mama. You are softly snoring in my lap as we sway back and forth in our rocking chair. This is our favorite place to be. Well, at least it’s mine. These days you prefer to wrestle with your siblings, belly laugh and practice standing all on your own. How have you grown so much in such a short time?

Last year at this time, you and I were one. Always together. You were snug and growing inside my belly, and I had so many dreams about who you were and who you would become. And now, you’re here. Now, you’re a permanent fixture in our family—a welcome, much-anticipated addition. You, my sweet son, are so loved!

In the days leading up to your birth, I was full of worry and hope. I knew I loved you. Actually, I think I loved you when you were still a star in the sky. But I hadn’t felt it yet; my love hadn’t come fully alive. Bringing you earth-side was the labor of love I needed to bring us full circle. It scared me, to break apart to bring you into my arms whole. But oh, little one, you were worth it. So very worth it. I would relive that day 100 times if it meant I would get to see your sweet face, hear your robust cry and again call you mine—my son—for the first time.

We lived in a bubble those first few weeks. Getting to know one another in a fresh way. Sometimes I felt like I could read your mind and, while I did, you soothed my anxious heart like no other. Seeing you, smelling you, holding you: it was everything. It still is.

It scared me, to break apart to bring you into my arms whole. But oh, little one, you were worth it.

Since, time has flown.

And I hate it. And I love it.

I hate it because I worry that I’ll forget. Not so much your milestones and achievements; my oh my, you’ve grown and done so much in these last 12 months and I’ve charted them all. More so, this feeling. The swell in my heart when I see you and hold you and know you and believe in you and who you’ll become.

It’s like Christina Perri’s song, “A Thousand Years,” when she sings: "I have died everyday waiting for you / Darling, don't be afraid I have loved you / For a thousand years/ I'll love you for a thousand more / And all along I believed I would find you / Time has brought your heart to me / I have loved you for a thousand years / I'll love you for a thousand more."

Now, we’re just a few weeks away from your first birthday. Dear baby, you’re almost 1! We’ve spent hundreds of days (and nights, can’t forget those nights!) together. As you’ve developed independence, we’ve grown apart—and yet, we’ve grown closer together. You need me less, but want me more. I’m relishing in who we’re becoming as a duo. Mom and baby, baby and mom: at our happiest when we’re together. Sweetheart, you are my shining star. You are all the good in the world wrapped into one growing boy.

As we anticipate your first birthday, I can’t help but smile—and cry. I just feel so much surrounding the anniversary of your birth. The anniversary of the gift of you.

Dear baby, this is just the beginning. In the years to come, you will grow so much more—not only in stature, but wisdom and grace too. You will learn hard lessons. You will teach me even harder ones. In the decades to come, I will forever reflect back on this first year, the year following your birth. The year where you didn’t speak, but said so much. This year has been a precious gift, one you won’t remember, but one that will hopefully echo throughout your life.

You have been loved from the very beginning. Before the beginning, in fact. Happy birthday, baby. Mama loves you.

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