On Your First Birthday

My sweet boy, Liam.

It seems impossible that one whole year has gone by since I went to the hospital, in more pain than I ever thought possible, and that just 10 hours later, at 7:25am on December 18, 2014, you came into the world.

It all happened so fast, and so agonizingly slow at the same time. One minute you were inside my belly, and then there you were. The moment they placed you on my chest, all legs and arms and warmth, I knew I was a changed woman.

I didn't get to hold you again for a whole 24 hours - they had to take you to the NICU for tests and then I had my own complications. Your poor Daddy, torn between the two greatest loves of his life. I urged him, needed him, to be with you. To let you know that you were not alone in this great big scary world that you had just become a part of.

From the first breathe you took, you have been a strong, alert, adaptable little boy. Every time over the past 12 months that I've been anxious or nervous about how you will react to something, you surpass any expectation.

This past year has been unlike anything I could have imagined. Watching the world through your eyes is, in a word, amazing. From your little view, two-feet off the ground, everyone deserves a smile, every day gets a belly laugh, and every thing in your path begs a name, a thought, an explanation. Everything, and everyone matters to you. I hope that always remains a part of your character.

You have a catalogue of noises, smiles and expressions, different for every person or occasion.
You have a roar that turns into a scream that turns into a giggle that turns into a belly laugh that will forever melt my soul.
You are sneaky and mischievous, too smart for your own good, knowing already how to walk the line between being naughty and cute.
You laugh in my face, openly, when I tell you No, and I will never be able to stay mad at your adorable face. Manipulation has never been more sweet.
You are messy and dirty and fearless and destructive, and my sweet little boy, all at the same time.
You still fit perfectly in the crook of my arm and in the space between my chin and my chest.
Your cheeks are amazing.
You are so very smart. Pride is a word I didn't know the true meaning of until I see you taking things that you learn from us and putting them in action.
You are so strong, "The Hulk" we call you, yet so small and fragile in the grand scheme of things.
Your hugs and kisses are addicting, and even if I got 1000 of each every day, it would never be enough.

This first year with you has been nothing short of an adventure. It's been the best of everything. It was challenging, and continues to be so, but we'll keep adapting. As much as I teach you, you are teaching me. I've never done this thing before. You are our world, but we are yours. We're in it together.

And if you ever forget, my love, how much I love you (and you will, most likely in those teenage years that I'm already dreading), know this: There is nothing I wouldn't do for you in this whole world.

You made me a mom, and I have never felt so lucky. You will forever occupy a place in my heart where no one else exists. You are my greatest joy and easily the best thing that I have ever done.

I love you, little one. Happy first birthday!

Love, Mom

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