Well, would you look at that, my sweet little light.
You are a whole year old.
365 days’ worth of goodness & drool & fancy little man-pants.
I look back at pictures of you from a year ago—
the first time we met;
you being all glorious in the sunshine on your very first morning;
you in fuzzy dinosaur jammies on our first official day of maternity leave;
you, in your glorious brand-new-ness, all milk-drunk and snuggled up against my chest—
and I marvel at how you’ve spent the last year becoming this super-cool little being who can drink with a straw & eat pizza with us.
I am so, so overdue with this letter to you, ‘Cakes, because life.
In November, I started a new (amazing, incredible, “oh-my-god-is-this-real-life-and-I-get-paid-to-do-this?”) job, daddy started a new job, then it was your birthday, and like five seconds later, it was Christmas.
Any space in between, I was either
(a) placing tempting snacks above the sink to lure myself to wash bottles & pump parts,
(b) preemptively losing my shit about all the Things we needed to do/buy/wrap/experience guilt about in relation to Christmas and your first birthday, or
(c) actually losing my shit about all the Things we needed to do/buy/wrap/experience guilt about in relation to Christmas and your first birthday.
THERE WAS JUST A LOT GOING ON.
However, as tends to be the case with most things I barely hold it together about, everything worked out beautifully & we all survived.
I credit this mostly to the fact that your daddy is really, really good at balancing out my panic with this totally zen, “babe we got this don’t even worry” attitude.
Also to snacks.
Really, for your birthday, the only thing I was adamant about was that you have a giant balloon for the occasion, because there are so very few events in life that call for celebratory helium.
Done annnnnd done.
Initially, daddy and I were like, “We’ll just invite family over to do pizza and cake at our house, and it’ll be super chill and laid back.“
And then we remembered that we have a thousandy immediate family members, realized it would basically be the worst idea we’ve ever had to fit that many humans into the space where we live, and quickly came up with an alternate plan where we moved the party to somewhere at Not Our House.
At your party, you got your very own smash cake of the very same flavor and design that grandma Bridget had made for your Daddy to decimate on his first birthday.
Ever the appreciator of food, you deigned to actually smash your cake and opted to joyously pet the frosting around with a fork.
The highlight of your day, however, was climbing atop the four-wheeler you’d been gifted and realizing that SWEET MOTHER OF GOD IT MOVES
This is the actual moment of that discovery, and your face basically says it all.
Daddy & I were all ultra-cautious as you climbed on for your first ride, very parent-ly hovering alongside in case gravity decided to clothesline you—
but you were just like, NAH BRAHS, I’VE GOT THIS, IT’S COOL, and casually took off like you’d been driving for years.
On your real-actual birthday, we celebrated by having evening breakfast with grandma Sharry, grandpa Mike and a pancake shaped like a “1”—
a festive treat of which you were suspicious and maybe kind of judgmental.
WE WERE ALSO ABLE TO HAT YOU
WHICH WAS AN AMAZING ACCOMPLISHMENT FOR THE GLORIOUS 3 SECONDS IT LASTED.
I’mma be honest with you when I say that your daddy and I didn’t buy you anything for Christmas this year.
Probably because we are jerks.
Mostly because I was already flipping out over how much Stuff you already own, how much Stuff you’d just accumulated for your birthday, and how much Stuff was still coming from two families’ worth of Christmas.
So, I mean, I guess if you look at it that way, what we actually gave you for Christmas was mama’s sanity.
Despite the fact that you’re currently growing in four of your upper-level mouth swords, you were so, so good and wonderful for all the holiday festivities. Snugglier than usual, but generally awesome.
You frosted (and by “frosted,” I mean “wildly flailed while holding a paintbrush loaded with frosting and some of it touched the cookie”) your very first sugar cookie;
you met Santa, an event during which you were FAR more concerned by the giant Chick-Fil-A cow wearing clothes that was standing nearby (which, fair);
you were thrilled that people were kind enough to give you bags and crinkly tissue paper, but weren’t entirely sure why anything else was included because HELLO WHAT MORE COULD YOU EVEN WANT THAN NOISES;
and you joined me for our very first Solstice celebration, where we set beautiful intentions for the new year & you were quite distressed that the flaming Yule wreath in the middle of the room did not wave back at you.
You’ve graduated from using “all done” strictly for food-related statements and now use it in ANY situation where you’ve decided you’re over it, thanks, make this be done.
You went from turbo-crawls, to tentative furniture-surfing, to OMFG HE RUNS NOW? over the space of about a month, and now, for the most part, you only walk like you’re 45% drunk.
You hug deliberately now, and the hugs know no bounds.
You hug the (very patient) Faces and Clementine.
You hug Ms. Lisa at baby work, and your friends at baby work, and sometimes the curtains at baby work, too.
YOU ARE REALLY GOOD AT IT AND EVERY TIME YOU DO IT I JUST MELT SO HARD.
Before we leave the house, you take epic delight in being the one to bring Clementine her “going into the kennel” treat. You get SO pissed off at us if we dare take this honor away from you & will make very displeased sounds at us to make sure we know.
You’re convinced you not only know how to put on your own shoes (you don’t), but also that you can put them on me. (Also, nope.)
You just, like within the last week, have figured out how to blow kisses.
This is basically accomplished by you smashing your palm against your face, sometimes while growling, and it’s amazing.
To my endless delight, you have favorite books, which you’ll either point to and announce, “buh,” or pick up, bring over to me or daddy, place in either of our laps and clap to signal, hi, I have brought you these words and it is time to read them at me.
MY HEART, BABY.
MY ENTIRE ACTUAL HEART.
You’re currently obsessed with this book you got for Christmas that has a panel of sound-playing buttons down one side, and you VERY SPECIFICALLY love the button that plays Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
This song is legit 45 seconds long, and if we dare cheat you of its full glory by canceling it out with another button—
say, the one that makes a two-second magic sound—
you will purposefully take the book back, push the Rudolph button, and then make the book dance to it with you.
This past year, I wore exhaustion like a badge of honor.
I’d never felt my heart break as wide open as it did the day I went back to work.
I fought long and hard to be able to nurse you, and I will forever count that victory among one of the greatest and most trying battles I’ve ever won.
I was really, really thankful for Amazon Prime.
I reveled in the way it felt like liquid sunshine every time I made you laugh.
I got to watch your daddy settle so very effortlessly into being your daddy, and I love him all the more for it.
I learned that humans can actually, for-real survive on nothing more than Ghiradelli chocolates, random muffins and a lot of water for weeks at a time.
Really, the only thing I knew for absolute sure this entire time was that I loved you, with every single fiber of my being, and somehow, that single certainty was enough to build an entire first year of motherhood around.
There have been a lot of really rad years in my life, but this one—
the one where I got to bring your bright light into this world—
This year, I learned how to be your mama.
We made it, little dude.
You are here, you are awesome, and you are one.
I love you so stupid much.