Today, you are 1 year old. All that runs through my mind is “we made it”.
“we made it” through so little sleep, through hours and hours of feedings, through so many nights of worry and self-doubt, through so many failed parenting ideals (and eating my words about a million times), through so many successes though too.
We learned each other, you and I. And Daddy too. We learned what soothes you, what makes you feel secure. I learned what each cry, in each tone, in reaction to every.single.thing. in your world meant.
There is so much I didn’t know before you came along. For instance, I never knew how little sleep a person could function on…if we can even call that functioning…or how great the depths of love are. Everyone says that. I heard it time and time again. I would babysit or hold baby relatives and breathe in that sweet baby smell, feeling so many motherly feelings and, with grandmas words of “it’s a whole new room in your heart” in my head, wonder at what it would feel like to have a baby of my own.
Oh, my little boy. I will never forget those eyes that peered up at my own in that moment the midwife laid you on my stomach. You squinted up at me with your furrowed brow and pouting lips and I changed. Forever and completely. Game over. “So this is love”.
You had some trouble right after you were born. You weren’t getting enough air and your oxygen levels were really low. I got to see you for a moment and kiss your face before they took you to help you breath. When you were finally able to come back to our room in the hospital and you cried, I somehow knew I just needed to kiss your face and whisper in your ear. You calmed down. This was the first time I experienced what is was to be needed simply because I’m your mama. My presence was all you needed. It humbled me and blew me away and was as natural as breathing all at once.
The first night, you cried and cried. We tried everything and you wouldn’t stop. We didn’t know what was wrong! You were so tiny and so sad. My exhausted, hormonal brain was overwhelmed with the fact that you will feel sadness in your life that I can’t fix. I thought to myself “what have I done?!” and I felt guilt over bringing you into a world that will hurt you one day. This is a classic mama move, by the way. You’ll see me read too much meaning into things and draw outlandish parallels your whole life. Sorry bub.
But I realize that I won’t be able to fix everything for you. I can’t take away the pain, but I can be there. I can love you fiercely (and I will always love you so fiercely, my boy) and I can be there. I know that this is what Jesus speaks to me in painful experiences in my life. Everything might not be perfect, it might not be painless, it might not be what I hope or expect, but He will never leave me through it. And He will never leave you through anything you face. He will stay. Jesus will weep with us and He will stay. Sometimes presence is enough.
I guess I’m getting a little ahead of myself here with the life lessons on your first birthday letter. For now I am grateful that the most stress you experience is when I take away the paper you furiously stuff in your mouth.
I love this new phase of life with you, Ezra. I love that you are old enough to enjoy things. We’re moving out of the basic primal needs phase and into one where you start to have preferences and it is so fun. Though a little ear-shattering when you make those preferences known…at this point you’re a screamer. I’m excited to show you things and take you to new places. I love seeing your face as you are discovering this world.
You are such a deep thinker. You watch people and observe things. You like to figure things out, how they work. I can’t wait to see how that plays out in your personality. It’s ok not to have everything figured out before you jump in, bubba. And it’s ok to want to figure things out too, if that’s what brings you joy. It’s ok to be just who you are. We love just who you are!
I love that you LOVE to make me laugh. You play peek-a-boo with me and both of our sets of eyes disappear from all the half-moon squinty smiles that happen. You love when I chase you, and have started chasing me back with giggles and loud “ahhhh!” noises…I swear my heart might burst from all the joy you bring me baby boy!
I still watch you sleep all the time (15 year old Ezra says “creepy, mom”). I check for the steady rise and fall of your chest. Then I look at your sweet face that still looks like the same tiny baby I first stayed awake watching a year ago.
I can’t help it, you see, because you are a miracle. You are a miracle and you are mine.
And how does someone just get over that? I have a feeling that as you grow, no matter the frustrations of the day, I will still check on you sleeping, and you will still look like that handsome little baby in room 6 with long lashes and bags under his eyes.
Ah, I’ve typed over a thousand words that beat from my heart for you my boy. And I could go on and on.
Happy Birthday, my baby. You came to life and took me with you…you made me a mama. You’ve set me on fire and showed me brilliant colors. You have rocked our world, little love. I’m so proud to be your mama.