My dear Sweet Pea –
Happy first birthday!
I know it sounds cliché, but it’s really hard for me to believe today is your first birthday. A year ago, I was wondering if you’d ever make it into the world. You were born after a quick, intense labor, which is indicative of how you’ve lived this first year of life: fast and intense.
I love your spiritedness. It brings such joy to my life and your daddy’s life to see you so filled with wonder and adventure. You love to explore. Earlier this week, you realized that if you climb into the one bathroom cabinet we let you pull through, you can crawl behind the doors to the cabinets we’ve locked off. And the other day, your daddy and I saw you standing on your tippy toes trying to reach the door handle for the balcony door so you could open it and go outside – you’re still about an inch too short.
For the most part, you love to be with people, which is good for us as our life will revolve around people. When we host events for our neighbors, you smile at them and let them hold you, even if you’ve never met them. You will let our friends volunteering with us take you for walks while we’re busy planning and preparing. You love your teachers at church and Mother’s Day Out, but are still so happy to see me or your daddy when we pick you up. I love seeing the look on your face when I walk into the room. You grin and laugh and crawl to me as quick as you can.
And you love to laugh, which your fun-loving mommy loves most of all. You love to be tickled and will often throw your head back so we can tickle your tummy. Over and over again. And you love to play games. When you realize I’m crawling after you, you’ll crawl under the end table where I can’t follow, and then turn and grin at me.
I remember the first time I realized you were playing a game with me. You were little and we were cuddling in the rocking chair. You put your hand in my mouth; when I pretended to bite your fingers and shook my head back and forth, you giggled loudly. And then, reached back up and put your hand in my mouth again.
You’ve ridden many hours in the jogging stroller Grandmother and Granddad gave us for Christmas as I train to run a marathon in six weeks. You love being outside. In fact, when you were a tiny baby and we couldn’t help you calm down, we’d take you out on the balcony to look out over the city; you’d instantly stop crying. When it’s not too hot, we take family walks on Sunday afternoons and count how many kitties and dogs we see. You squeal with delight each time we point out another cat.
Because of you and the joy you’ve added to our lives, the year has flown by. But in some ways, it’s been a long year, too. We’ve been to Indiana five times this year – including for your Great Uncle John’s funeral and the funeral of your eight-month-old friend Caden. Both are deeply sad moments that I will never forget, but that you will never remember except through stories we tell you.
You are so close to walking and talking. It has been a blast seeing you grow this year. You’ve grown from a little peanut of a baby who cried his first eight weeks of life to a fun-loving, adventurous toddler. You are a very obedient boy. Your daddy and I are very proud of you. Since before you were born, we’ve been praying for you that you would “bind kindness and truth to your heart” (Proverbs 3:3) and that you would have a deep and abiding relationship with God all the days of your life. I look forward to seeing how God works and moves in your life this next year to begin to teach you about Himself.
I love you!