Happy birthday! You are one year old today, and it’s been the most joyful, exhausting, funniest and fullest year of my life. I’m so thankful for you. I’m so glad God chose to give us you, that he picked you just as you are and blessed us with your little life. You are perfect for your dad and me.
I love the way you look, my beautiful little blond-haired, blue-eyed baby, a perfect image of your dad. I thought it was too much to ask for that you would have these crystal-clear baby blues, but here you are, your precious little ears and crazy hair making you perfectly imperfect. When I see you, I see your dad, but more than that, you just look like family to me. You look like you came from me, pulled from my past, this perfect culmination of everything that’s ever happened to bring you to this point.
I love listening to you talk, learning new words and sounds almost daily. You recently learned to say ball, “BAH!” It’s amazing to me that you know that a ball is defined by being spherical, not by being a certain size or color. Today in the produce section of the grocery store, you saw the huge stacks of oranges and tomatoes, and spent a good five minutes straight saying “BAH! BAH! BAH!” until we left that section. You’re right, oranges do look like balls. When we ask you what dada says, you make a fart sound with your lips.
I love reading to you before I lay you down to sleep. You’re trusting and sweet, and I treasure these moments. Your favorite books are about animals, and sounds, with the sing-song rhythms of Dr. Seuss. But when I’ve read the last book and you start to hum “mm-mm-mm,” I know you’re tired. I take out your night-night book, “I love you through and through.” This one knocks you out like nothing else. You haven’t even let me open the book in weeks, because the sight of the cover makes you rub your eyes and turn your little body into me, so I’ll carry you on your back to your crib and set you down gently. Then, you sleep. You go down for naps so easily now. You are an easy baby.
But that doesn’t mean we haven’t had our challenges. When you were a newborn, you nursed for 40 minutes at a time, with only an hour and twenty minutes of rest between feeds. I had never known what tired was like until then. Those few-and-far-between moments when you slept, your dad and I would lay half-awake, too nervous to sleep deeply, carefully checking to make sure you were breathing. Every little sound you made sent us sitting up, scrambling to make sure you were okay.
And now you’re a toddler. You’re already growing so fast, and I’m so proud of who you are. I can’t wait to see who you become. When you were first born, you great-aunt Sue, who somehow had a feeling you would come on your exact birthday, said she also knew you were here for a reason, and you have a special purpose. I know that to be true. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you.
My prayer for you, my hope for your future, is that you become a man of God, stable, caring, independent and smart, gentle and strong like your dad. A leader. When I go to check on you at night before I lay down to sleep, I put my hand on your warm little diapered butt and I pray that you will know Jesus. I pray that you will hear Him clearly when He speaks to you. I pray that you will not doubt Him, that you will be bold and carry His name to everyone you know. I pray for your purpose, for your life story. I know you’re here for something big and important, and I thank God for letting me be here to witness your life.
Happy first birthday, my precious, sweet little man.