An Open Letter to My Son on His First Birthday
The annoying old saying people tell you about raising babies has never felt more true than it does today—that the days are long and the years are short. Thinking back to what we were doing on this day one year ago feels like a lifetime ago already. I guess because, well, it was. Your life and our life together was just beginning. It still is, but TODAY, today is a major milestone for us. Today we celebrate you and, quite frankly, I celebrate me because I worked hard to get us to that day a year ago and to today, too.
But first, I want to tell you a story.
Soon after your dad and I met—and when I say “soon,” I mean SOON, liiiiike, two weeks after we met—we were walking home from a bar (I was wearing heels and it was NOT a short walk—another story for another day) and he said, “I’m not IN love with you, but I LOOOOOOVE you.” Which is exactly how I felt about YOU soon after we met.
Your dad took a whole six months to tell me that he was finally IN love with me, even though he knew much sooner. And what I can tell you, Oliver Douglas, on your first birthday, is that when I met you, I loooooved you, and as I got to know you better, I fell deeply IN love with you.
You've probably figured out by now that your mommy isn't someone who just jumps right into relationships. I have to sniff people out a little bit before I decide we're going to be in it for the long haul. I have to observe, see how you go about your day to day, how you are in the world. It was a slow burn, our love, and I'm okay with that because I think it was a slow burn on your end, too. Sure, you NEEDED me, but I can't imagine you fell into it immediately either. You had bigger things to worry about like heel pricks and boobs and your sudden eviction from a very cozy waterbed in your studio apartment.
I hate to admit that the first words I said to you were, “I’m so mad at you!” We can blame the drugs or the four and a half hours of pushing or all the hormones. But it wasn’t your fault, really, that you had to be sucked out with a vacuum, just like I was 30 years before you. We’re blessed with big ol’ brains, I guess. But when we finally met, after all that work I did to get you here, I was exhausted and I was frustrated, and I said those things to you and I hate that I did. But I also forgave myself a long time ago because they don’t really matter now. I felt deeply connected to you because I grew you in my body, but we didn’t know each other yet. I guess it was our first fight? Albeit one-sided? Either way, we’re over it now. We’ve moved on. We’re good.
We might have been fighting when we first met, but I was mesmerized by you. You were the most magical thing I’d ever seen. It was overwhelming—good overwhelming—seeing what your daddy and I had created. And since that day, we've made A LOT of memories. You've been to at least seven states, lots of mountain cabins, and several national parks. You've been on ferries, on airplanes, and ridden shotgun through the backroads of North Central Washington. You've done a fair amount of living in your first year.
And, really, as we move through the world together, that's my main goal for you—for us as a family: that we continue to grow together in our experiences. That we ALWAYS have an adventure to look forward to and memories we're preparing to make.
It's taken us this full year to get into a solid groove, where I feel like my full ME again and where we all seem really comfortable as a unit...that we have a little unspoken language and ease that is uniquely ours. I feel so solid in where we are now and where we're growing. I hope you do, too. I hope your life and your home is one of comfort and love, of silliness and laughs, of quiet and of happy noise. I hope it's a place you know you can always find great food and plenty of beverage options, where hugs and kisses are unlimited, and where there's always someone who will stop what they're doing to sit and listen when you need us to. I hope our life together is one where you feel comfortable being your whole self always, and where no dream is too big, no idea too grand, no invention too far-fetched. I hope when you see us you see a place where you will always belong.
There were days that is was really rough, where you peed on me and poop got under my nails and you spit up INTO my shirt, and I'd gladly not deal with any of that again, but if that's what it took to get us here, then fine. Okay. Whatever. You're more than worth it. YOU—you are worth celebrating.
My love for you grows and grows, dude. Every day and in every way. Thank you for choosing me to be your mommy. Thank you for loving enchiladas and ice cream. Thank you for always being so patient, so silly, and so sweet. Thank you for everything you are and for everything you're destined to become. Thank you for taking me on the best ride of my life—so far.
And even though I don't want to steal your day or your glory, I have to give myself the credit I deserve, too: Happy birthday to US.
I love you mucho,