I am feeling so many things as I sit down to write this post. Astonishment, elation, joy, sadness, bewilderment. We've made it 365 days together. 365 days ago you were born at 2:25 pm into a world covered in snow, with freezing temperatures, and two parents who were utterly terrified and fascinated. That morning as I felt my water break, nothing felt real. And all throughout my labor it didn't feel real. The pushing, the pain, none of it really registered that my life was about to be flipped on its head. And then you came out and the doctor held you up and said "It's a boy!" (because we didn't know your gender throughout the entire nine months) and I immediately began sobbing. I think all of the emotions hit me all at once and I wasn't entirely sure what to think. You began screaming, and they put you right to my chest. You opened your eyes, saw me, and stopped crying. You stared at me as if you knew me, as if even though you just had been through something incredible, you knew that I was going to take care of you. And buddy, I've tried to do just that.
Watching your Dad with you in those first few minutes, I knew that you had just changed his life in more ways than he ever thought possible. And when it was just the three of us in the hospital room, before anyone else knew of your existence, I think my heart swelled to sizes I didn't know were even possible. You have been a life changer, monkey.
This year has been filled with the most amazing and the most trying times that I've ever had. From new parent frustrations, sleepless nights, and just not knowing, it's been a year of learning. Your Dad and I have not only learned how to be parents, but we've learned how to be completely selfless, and we've also learned how to communicate with each other all over again. And through all of the ups and downs, you have just smiled. You have laughed and smiled and made funny faces and you have given us hope and joy. You have made us see life in a new way and that is an amazing gift to give someone. Who knew that someone so small could have such a profound impact.
And I have to tell you something else, monkey. You are loved. OH MY GOD are you loved. And not just by us. From your grandparents, your aunts and uncles, your cousins, our friends, the women at daycare, the strangers at the grocery store. You leave an impact on everyone you meet, and I can only imagine how great of a footprint you'll leave on this earth someday. You bring charm and joy everywhere your little body happens to be. Those sparkling blue eyes, filled with love, mischief and flirtation turn strangers into mush and people who know you into babbling idiots (myself included).
When I think back over this past year, it's been filled with reflux, ear infections, sniffles, and upset stomachs. But more than that? It's been a year filled with laughter, messes, dancing and singing, and overwhelming, core shaking love. From the first time you held your head up or rolled over, to the first time you sat up by yourself. From that first scoot you took (never crawling, crawling is for other babies, right, bud?), and those first couple steps you managed just a few days ago. From the first teeth that have come through, and the tasting of all new foods. You have been a rockstar, a superhero, a baby who is always pleasant. And that, my friend, is no small feat. With all that you've been through by way of sickness this year, you have never not been pleasant.
I am not sure how to end this letter because I feel like I have so much more to say. I want to talk to you about every single day that we've had together. And yet I think I can sum it up by reciting to you one of our favorite books to read each night:
"I love you through and through. I love your top side. I love your bottom side. I love your inside and outside. I love your happy side, your sad side, your silly side, your mad side. I love your fingers and toes, your ears and nose. I love your hair and eyes, your giggles and cries. I love you running and walking, silent and talking. I love you through and through. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, too."
And read the story behind the teddy bear.