Dear BIRTHDAY Boy...

I've been thinking about this letter for a long time--what it is I want to say to you on your very first birthday.  I've been stewing over it really, knowing even for a wordy like me, it's difficult to string together words when you're talking about bringing a baby into this world.  Words, like just about everything else, have taken on a whole new meaning this past year.  I just hope it gets easier when you're sixteen...

Tonight, I sipped a glass of wine and got lost in my blog musings from last year.  I always knew this online diary would mean more in the future, mean more when I was looking for an escape to past when the present became too much.  As I read, it was like traveling back in time.  Back to the Sunday before my actual due date, basking in the warm sun with your grandma, wondering what you were going to look like, and experiencing the realization that I definitely wasn't a little girl anymore.  Back to the infamous, 10/10/10, the day I secretly wanted you to come, and crying in frustration when I wondered if you would ever come.  Back to my very last ultrasound, a projected nine-pound baby, and another tear (or two) when I wondered if you would fit into your sweet newborn clothes.  I traveled back in time to my first official day of 'maternity leave,' a day of mental preparedness, some final touches on nesting and packing, and five mini meatloaves, baked in a spotless kitchen.  I traveled back to our last supper of two at Bourbon Street, an episode of Boardwalk Empire before bed, and my very first labor contraction.

And just like that, you were here.

Life is funny that way.  One second, I'm writing about frozen meatloaves, and the next minute, I'm a mom.  That experience, and the days following, were so unbelievable, and never will I be able to put into words the roller coaster of emotions we were feeling.  I'm thankful, however, that a year later, I remember them as if they were yesterday.

...that Superwoman feeling I had after delivering you---the strongest and proudest I've every felt in my life

...that first night with you in the hospital-- feeling a little unsure of myself, but comforted by the frequent visits of nurses, and yet, so content at the sight of this perfect little person swaddled tight in the crook of my arm  

...that first feeding, the bond that formed seconds after, and the protective mama bear suit that became my new armor

...listening to Jay-Z on the way home from the hospital, driving slower than usual, and wishing everyone else would slow down FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!

...the visitors who came to see you.  Lasagna and wine from Mike and Donna, the outpourings of food from co-workers, and our first dinner out with Rob and Jill.  Everything took longer, and everything had this new sense of anxiety, yet, we were living life in this peaceful, new parent bubble where everything seemed simple and makeup was definitely optional.  

I hope I never forget those first few days---the first days of you.  This year has been so abundantly full--- every page is filled with new experiences, new feelings, and new happiness.  

I love you to pieces and feel so lucky to be your mom.  This year has challenged me, and taught me more about myself and who I want me to be more than any other.  I can't wait to continue to write the pages of this life and hope our story is filled with memories that continue to be impossible to string into words.

Happy Birthday, little man.  

"How to really love a child.  Be there.  Say yes as often as you can.  Let them bang on pots and pans.  If they're crabby, put them in water.  Read books out loud with joy.  Go find elephants and kiss them.  Encourage silly.  Giggle a lot.  Remember how really small they are.  Search out the positive.  Keep the gleam in your eye.  Go see a movie in your pajamas.  Teach feelings.  Remember how important it is to be a child.  Plan to build a rocket ship.  Stop yelling.  Invent pleasures together.  Surprise them.  Express you love.  A lot.  Children are miraculous."