Dear Cruz...

It's incredibly hard to believe that I am writing this letter to you exactly one month before your 2nd birthday.  A part of me feels like it was just yesterday we were 'vacationing' in the hospital with you, head over heels in love with this perfect 8-pound baby with smooth, flawless skin, a wrinkly forehead, and dark, vigilant eyes that stared right into my soul and made me feel protective, proud, and more love than I ever dreamed possible.  The other part of me feels like you've been a part of our life so much longer than two years, I think because when you arrived in our lives, you just fit so naturally, so seamlessly that you're nearly synonymous with our very identities.  You've become so much of who I am, so much of who I want to be, and I'm realizing that I like who that person is more and more the older I get.  

I've always loved this time of year, but it's even more special to me now because it brings to the surface all the memories I cherish in those weeks leading up to your arrival.  I hope I never forget how extra special that fall season was for us - how every small moment and simple tradition took on new meaning because it was the year we would become parents and the year we would meet you. 

I remember your dad and I's last 'date night' before we would need to call a baby-sitter (or grandma).  It was the perfect night for a cozy dinner and movie, with a fall chill, cloudy sky, and off and on rain.  We took a few pictures in my favorite Gap Maternity skinny jeans and white cami, and had the best time enjoying each others' company and soaking up the quiet time together.  We were riding high on the anticipation train, and I'm not sure a thing in the world could have wiped the smiles from our faces.

I remember decorating for fall, climbing up on a kitchen chair, extra 40 pounds and all, and attempting to string garland on top of the kitchen cabinets.  I remember taking my time to make sure everything was perfect, as I looked forward to enjoying the candle light and soft glow of fall while snuggling with a swaddled baby in our peaceful, protective abode.  

I remember washing your sleepers and folding your blankets, sneaking in your room just days before you were born, turning on the lamplight, rocking in the rocking chair, and trying to picture what you would look like and what we would decide to name you.  

I remember the day before you were born, my first Monday of maternity leave, and the quiet moments I had to myself that I will truly never experience the same again.  I re-cleaned an already clean house and made mini meatloaves to freeze, but mostly let the reality of you joining our family sink in as I awaited that first contraction...

And then, at Bourbon Street, in the same booth we sat just hours before getting engaged, I felt it.  You came easy and pretty dang effortlessly on a Tuesday afternoon and changed our world forever.  Holding you for the first time, staring into your face, and kissing those cheeks of yours will forever be one of the most amazing moments of my life.  But what I didn't know at the time was that that moment was really just a prequel to all that was to come.

It's been a ride, these past two years, laughing and juggling and figuring things out as we go.  We learned pretty quickly that there isn't a handbook in regards to parenting, but through a few mistakes, a little trial-and-error, and a whole lot of heart, we've done pretty well in this team of ours.  You never seize to amaze us with your sweetness, spunk, and sense of humor, and we are just so proud to be your mama and daddy.  

These months of fall will always be special, as they will always remind me of those special days of welcoming you into our little life.  You have made us so incredibly happy these past two years, and I have a feeling it will keep getting better and better.  

All my love at one month before two...

Your mama