Over the coming years you will come to know something about your Mama. I am not crafty. I am not the chronicler of firsts that many mothers are. I am not the kind of mother who creates beautifully themed birthdays. I am not the mother who cut a lock of your baby hair to place carefully into a powder blue book that one day I'll show your wife as she carries my grandchild. As I think of all of the things that I am not, there is an anxiety that creeps upon me, slow and steady, and a tightness that spreads through my chest. I can't help but question, "Am I doing enough? Am I giving enough? Am I enough?"
One year ago, I had the same questions. Even now, after the passing of 365 days, those questions still linger. But when you reach for me in the night, calling "mamamamamamamama," the syllables tumbling one after the next, an unending stream of need, or when you break into a smile that is so full of joy that it makes my heart hurt, or when you call "YEE" when you are excited, or when you yell at the top of your lungs as you play with your trucks because you think this is the sound they make...all of these things, all of these small moments that make up a life, tell me that despite my numerous shortcomings that you are well, that this little thing we call a family is so full of love and happiness that it can't be anything but right.
In April, I started a list in my phone of the things I hoped for you. One day I'll tell you about what prompted that list, but I'll put them here now.
- To see the best in people.
- A sense of justice that doesn't bend
- Compassion when it's warranted
- Tough love when it's needed and the courage to give it
- Knowing you are good enough
- Knowing we'll do everything in our power to not let you down
- But if we do, it's because we are human and flawed. We hope you'll see this and be forgiving of us and yourself.
- Saying the hard words and meaning them.
- Not being afraid or ashamed of your imagination
- Approaching dogs cautiously
- Cats too
- Recognizing inner beauty
- A sense of adventure with a healthy amount of fear and respect
Time, as it does, has a way of moving too quickly, and every day I'm amazed as I watch my baby morph into a sturdy, rough and tumble boy. Everything is a marvel, and I love to watch you take in the world around you. The intensity with which you examine everything, no corner goes undiscovered. Your favorite trick is seeing how fast Mama can fish that thing you shouldn't have in your mouth out of your mouth. And even though I'm sure it will drive me crazy, I hope you never lose that gleam of mischievousness. Your words are coming fast and furious now, and you've learned (although not quite mastered) "ma," "da," "doggy," "ball," "no," "uh-oh," and "whoa."
There is so much of this year that has been hard. So, so hard. Sobbing hysterically when you wouldn't latch. Sobbing hysterically because you cried for thirty-seven days straight (or so it seemed). Sobbing hysterically because you woke every thirty minutes for a month solid when you were four months old. Sobbing hysterically when I returned to work and left you with your wonderful, loving Grandma who spoils you far more than she should. Sobbing hysterically the first time I cut your nails and nicked your tiny finger. But there has been laughter, too. That time we were changing your diaper, and you pooped with so much force that it shot all over me, your father, the wall, and the carpet. The first time you smiled. The first time you laughed. The first time you crawled. The best part of my day is watching you and laughing.
And the best part? There is so much more to come. I'll be right here to watch and hold your hand until you decide to let go.
I love you forever,