You were born on the last day of summer. It seems so very fitting, now, looking over our first year together. Your arrival announced a change of season, not only in the weather, but also in my heart.
Becoming your mother has been a shift of seismic proportions. Some changes have been difficult to bear: the interrupted sleep, the lack of personal time, your constant need for my attention. I look at myself a year ago and see a woman who was so focused on herself, and often very unaware of the needs of others. I’ve learned that I can go without much more than I thought possible, and that there is joy in giving to others what you yourself feel most in need of.
Many of the changes you’ve brought into my life are so sweet. I love folding your tiny clothes after doing a load of laundry, marveling at their small size and feeling the soft cotton between my fingers. I love the cuddles we share after your naps, when I pick you up out of your crib and you reach around my left ear to hold my hair, your sleepy head resting on my shoulder. I love watching you explore the world one new day at a time. I love being needed so very much.
This is the paradox of parenting: the joy mixed with the heartbreak. I’m a little surprised at myself for feeling so sad about this first birthday of yours. I’m certainly celebrating our survival of this all-changing year, but it’s also one year closer to you being grown, having a life of your own, leaving us behind. It’s my job to prepare you for this reality, and I’m taking that responsibility very seriously, but I dread when the day comes that you’ll walk out into the world on your own, hardly a trace of remembrance that your body had anything to do with mine. Dad and I spoke of this recently as our little car drove us to Sunday church. “I wish we could keep him just like this for a little while,” Dad said. And I agreed, and lamented that broken arms and broken hearts; acne and adolescence would surely come and mark you forever. I wished that I could save you from the world. Your dad reminded me that Jesus is the only one who can do any saving. May it be so.
You mean so much to me, Aaron. I did not realize that love could be so fierce for another human being. And so, to combat this feeling of loss, I can only live fully each moment I have with you, cherishing, remembering, and documenting the things that make you so unique and so special. It seems impossible to me that you are the same tiny creature who was laid on my chest one year ago today. You, who nursed so intently for so long, who would not sleep unless you were in my arms, who’s smallness made me marvel, have grown so big. You’re not a baby anymore, Aaron, you’re a boy. You love balls and balloons. You prefer to feed yourself (bananas and bread are your favorites), and are always asking for “more!” You can’t sleep without your blue blankie. You love to walk all by yourself, and your feet and your mouth seem to be connected, since you “talk” constantly while on the go. You have the biggest feet I’ve ever seen on a boy your age (size 5!), and the biggest heart, too. Your wet kisses on my cheek are my so sweet, and your smile lights up a room. You say Amen (“mmmm-uh”) at the end of our prayers. You amaze me every day with the new things you can do and say, and each day is more fun than the one before.
Keep growing, little one, and learning how the world works. You are a miracle from head to toe, and it is a gift to be your mother. May God bless and protect you in your second year, and keep molding you into a man after his own heart.
With all my love,