one year

[letter for William’s first birthday]

Dear William,

A whole year.

That’s how long I’ve known and loved you. A whole year.

Even while in the middle of living them, I felt the days slipping through my fingers like sand. I knew Time would fly, staying barely long enough to make the faint impression of memory before flitting away. I was right, but that doesn’t make it easier. There were plenty of days this year that I would love to live over and over, savoring you.

Oh, William, just saying your name and thinking of you makes my heart want to burst! I love you so much and can’t believe there was ever a time that you weren’t here, filling my days and heart with joy.

But there were days before you. Notably, some sick, cranky, exhausted days that left me wondering, maybe?… And sure enough, the test said Yes! You had quietly arrived, and in the dark and hidden place were being woven together. Even before we knew the idea of you, you already had a future and hope. Isn’t that simply amazing?

I loved carrying you. Running after your older brother kept me fairly preoccupied, but when your kicks began their flutter, I had a constant reminder that there was a baby to love. I would cherish the few moments here and there when I found time to stretch, read, prepare for your coming.

I decided to have you at home, and your birth is one of the best memories I’ll ever have. You came in the quiet, in the dark, a circle of smiling faces and ready hands to welcome you. We didn’t know if you were girl, boy; didn’t have a name settled on. But when you came with a swoosh, I knew instantly that you were a boy, and that we would call you William.

The first few months are a single memory of days in the living room, your brother playing trains, you wrapped in a blanket on the couch; singing songs, reading books, cuddling; sunshine in the afternoon, candles in the evening. There were long moments, but even those were precious. You ushered in a new rhythm to life, and it was wonderful.

In February, you got sick — the flu, perhaps? For several nights in a row, we only managed 2 or 3 hours of sleep; the rest were spent pacing the bedroom floor, laying in bed singing to you, and finally tucking you into the ergo in the wee hours of the morning so I could make coffee. I remember being delirious with exhaustion, and absolutely thrilled by the softness of your baby-body, all at once. You needed me, and I loved being your mama.

Your first smile came early, and you’ve been smiling ever since: big, vibrant, dimpled grins that we adore. You love to laugh, and the sound of hysterical laughter at your brother’s antics is one of my favorite things in the world! Your only sad times have been when you’re on the brink of a new milestone, and you can’t quite be patient any longer. Then all at once, one day you can sit — or roll, or crawl — and life is peachy again. You’re happy to play by yourself for long stretches, and have been entertained by Little Bear since you were only weeks old. Of course, your chubby little body just begs to be cuddled, and I confess that I often scoop you up long before you need me, because your cheeks need kissing. What a cuddly baby you are!

And now you point at lights and airplanes and exclaim “Ooooo!”, say “Mama” (melt my heart!), talk into pretend phones, do a “Tevye” dance (while sitting — what a crack-up you are!), and read every book you can get your hands on. You adore your daddy, love to play with Jameson, and are still my ’round-the-clock buddy.

Yes, a whole year of life, lived and gone. Your strong personality is emerging (you know exactly what you want, that’s for sure!), you’re learning the challenges of obedience, and you spend more and more time crawling after your big brother. But I look at that handsome face — that face that is slowly leaving babyhood behind — and I remember your first days, sleeping on the couch together, your fresh, new body fitting so perfectly in my arms. You are a solid, big boy, but forgive me if once in awhile, I still snuggle you close like the infant I already miss.

I can’t wait for the years ahead, for making childhood memories, discovering who you are, learning life together. There’s work and training ahead, because you, son, were born to be a man. I’ll do my best to shape and train you for the future and hope in store. You’re going to do and be wonderful things, but before any of that has even begun, I love you.

You’re my Sweet William — always.

— Mama

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