Over the past half a year, you have somehow both enlarged me and made my world smaller.
In those first few months, amid a pandemic/social distancing and a winter with record-breaking snowfalls, our world was mostly a cozy four-person cocoon. In the middle of the night, when I fed you by the glow of the Christmas lights we strung on your ceiling, it could have been just you and me in the universe, if not for the snack your dad left for me beside the rocking chair.
Our world was small, yes. But you have also been showing me a grander view of the world.
When I see the man at the stoplight holding a tattered sign, my usually calloused heart is pierced. He was once a baby too, I think. He once had a mother who rocked him to sleep.
When I hear you laugh—without filter or self-consciousness—I can believe in breathtaking joy, the kind that blooms out of the soil of sorrow.
When I see your sense of wonder over the little things—bubbles catching the sunlight just so, a leaf dancing in the breeze—I am reminded to slow down, to bear witness to the miraculous right under my nose.
When I see you and your brother communicating with no need for words, I can embrace a world where reconciliation is possible, where hearts can be glued back together.
You have surprised me, little man . . . and humbled me too. I’ve had a baby before, I remember thinking. Better yet, I’ve had a baby boy. I probably know how to do this. But of course I don’t. Because I’ve never had you before.
You made it clear even before you were born, when the wild rumpus ensued in my belly, that you were your own little person. Ever since, you’ve been on the move, wiggling and kicking and grinning and generally charming your way through life. You refuse to be held on my hip, preferring to be face-out so you won’t miss a single thing.
As a one-toe-in-the-water kind of person myself, I marvel at the way you cannonball straight into the deep end. I admire your moxie, the way you embrace the world and everyone you meet with open arms and a full-body grin.
Just one year—that’s all the time we get you as a baby. I’m trying to drink in the joy of it this time around, knowing it’s like juice concentrate. So much to take in with a single sip, but there’s no way to water it down.
So halfy birthday, little guy. We can’t imagine the world without you; we can’t imagine our family without you. Please keep teaching us—we have a lot more to learn.