My sweet little boy,
I can't believe you aren't a baby anymore. Tomorrow marks your very first birthday. Today marks the first 24 hours of my labor with you.
A few weeks ago, we had your birthday pictures taken by our very favorite photographers, and she asked me a simple question. I know it was for her benefit to get some of the greatest pictures ever, but it really made me think. She asked me what I wanted to remember the most about your infancy and these sweet moments we've had over the past year. It caught me way off guard, and I think I ended up giving her a half hearted answer because I'm just not sure I can pinpoint what I don't want to remember.
I want to remember how expressive you are. Strangers compliment on how animated your face is already. You don't just giggle and cry, you have been communicating with your face your entire life. You have a "W-T-F" face, an inquitisitve face, a proud face, an "I love you" face, a "go to hell" face (courtesy of your Momma), an angry face, a hurt feelings face, a frustrated face, a tired face, a flirty face, and even a michevious face. You wear your heart on your shoulder already, and I adore that about you.
I want to remember how inquisitive you are. You really aren't interested in toys or television, you want to explore your surroundings. You want to crawl, climb and figure out new ways to get into things you know you aren't supposed to be into. You're so curious about your surroundings. You study objects you've never seem before, and you want to examine every angle of a new cabinet that you've recently discovered.
I want to remember how much you giggle and play in your crib first thing in the morning before we come to get you.
I want to remember how funny you think Fenway is, and how you enjoy trying to make him growl. I want to remember how patient he has been with you while you learn what "be gentle means.
I want to remember how peaceful and comfortable you look when you fall asleep on your Daddy every night. You really prefer his comfort when it is bedtime, and while I wish you would let me rock you to sleep once in a while, I love the image of your snuggle time with him. I want to remember our whole family hugs every single night right before we put you in your crib.
I want to remember how sweet the word "Mama" sounds when you say it, especially when you become the age that you say my name so frequently that I will want to change it to something else.
I want to remember how amazed you were with yourself when you started to creep across the floor and get to objects you wanted that were far away.
I want to remember those first few moments we had alone together in the hospital. Your daddy was sleeping, and the nurse brought you in to nurse. You were such a pro, and fell asleep quickly after finishing. I want to remember how sweet your squishy face looked in that moment and remember how wonderful it felt to realize that you were mine.
I want to remember when you first started to roll over repeatedly to get across the room. I want to remember how funny we found it that we would lay you down, and turn around for a split second, only to find you about 6 feet away from your original location. I want to remember how mischevious you looked when you would grin after we found you in a new location.
I want to remember how weak and small your cry sounded when you were brand new, and how amazed we were when it would gain strength. I want to remember periodically videotaping you cry just to compare how different that sound changed over the months.
I want to remember the way your pretty hair curled in the back, and how much we are hoping that your entire head curls that way.
I want remember how big of a flirt you were with older women, especially blonde women. You always get a kick out of a pretty girl giving you attention. Your Pappy and your Daddy are the only two men you will go to 100% of the time. The rest of them are a toss up. You are certainly a ladies man, and I want to remember how cute I found that to be. I'm sure when you are a teenager I won't find it as cute.
I want to remember how loving you are to your stuffed animals. I hope that kindness and love continues to be a dominant part of your personality as you grow.
I want to remember that you used to clap with one palm to the top of your other hand.
I want to remember how proud you were of yourself when you could identify your nose, teeth, and ears when we asked. I want to remember that the first time you signed "more," you giggled and laughed and clapped for yourself. Every single time since that moment, you clap for us to show you the sign, since we made such a big deal out of it for you. You are still so small, but you already want to try to build others up the way we try to build you up. I pray you stay that considerate and thoughtful.
I want to remember how much you hated riding in the car. I want to remember how much you preferred to be carried everywhere, and the stroller was as evil as the car seat.
I want to remember how much you gagged out of disgust the first time we fed you green beans.
I want to remember the fun you had at bathtime.
I want to remember watching you discover the Christmas presents under the tree, and trying so hard to get to them and see what they were all about.
Mostly, I want to remember exactly how we felt the moment you came into our lives. Somehow though, I'm pretty sure that is one that I won't ever have a hard time with.
I can't believe your "baby" stage is already gone and you are my toddler. As important as it is for me to remember all the sweet moments you gave me in your first year, it's more important for you to remember that no matter how old you get, I will always love you and I will always believe in you.