My darling boy,
I peeked in on you while you were sleeping last night, like I usually do. (This isn’t for your sake—it’s purely so I can catch a glimpse of you in a rare freeze-frame moment.) I marveled at your sprawling limbs, growing longer by the day, and the way you now take up most of your crib.
When did this happen, I wonder? It seems like we just graduated you from the bassinet. I remember the way the crib seemed like an ocean at the time, engulfing your tiny curled-up frame.
We like to read Frog and Toad together, and I can’t help but think of Toad in “The Garden.” He watches his garden minute by minute, waiting for it to grow. And then, after he falls asleep, he wakes up to find his plants have suddenly sprung up overnight.
Forever. And just one year.
When the doctor placed you in my arms one year ago, I immediately realized: this is forever. No matter what happens tomorrow or next year or decades from now, my world has been altered forever. My perspective has been altered forever. My heart has been altered forever.
What didn’t hit me right away is that while my heart is permanently changed, that’s the only thing permanent about this parenting gig. Time, which used to march along fairly consistently, now moves at warp speed. Just one year—that’s all the time we had with you as a baby.
I woke up, and suddenly you are running, arms winging wildly to the sides. You squawk like a pterodactyl at the dinner table, increasing in volume to match the crowd. You no longer bundle up under my winter jacket, with only your fuzzy hat sticking out; you are now toddling around the snow on your own two legs, begging (by way of your adamantly pointing finger) for another sled ride. You no longer fall asleep on our chest; you only have time for drive-by snuggles before dashing off to explore the dishwasher or the ungated stairway or your brother’s toys.
I wouldn’t trade it, of course. It is a delight to watch your personality unfold and to discover, day by day, the person God made you to be.
You are Mr. Personality, charming friends and strangers alike. You doggedly maintain eye contact with anyone, masked or otherwise, until they reciprocate your cheeky grin. From the moment you learned to roll over, you haven’t stopped moving, and once you’ve decided on a destination, there’s no diverting you. You are curious and independent, insisting on feeding yourself, walking by yourself, and even turning the pages of books yourself. Your gap-toothed smile lights up the whole room—and, indeed, our whole lives. I don’t know the ingredients God used to make the unique combination of you, but I have a hunch you’re two parts sunshine and one part steel.
It’s hard to believe that just over a year ago, we hardly knew anything about you. We didn’t know your gender, we didn’t know your name, we didn’t know you’d come into the world with a head full of hair and enough exuberance to rally an entire stadium.
We can’t imagine our family without you, and we can’t wait to see the way you uniquely reflect the character of God to the world.
So happy birthday, my boy. My baby for a year, my son forever.
Mom (and Dad too)