Wow. ONE whole year. I cannot even begin to explain the emotions I am feeling today. I will do my best to put it into words. I am tearing up as I write this, but I’m not exactly sure why. When I brought you home from the hospital one year ago, I couldn’t believe they were actually going to let me take you home. Aside from babysitting my cousins and neighbors in my teen years, what did I know about raising a baby? Especially a 5lb baby who had come two weeks early. It was a strange feeling after carrying you around inside me for 9 months to then have you right there next to me or in my arms, outside of the womb. To actually see the little face I could only imagine for so long. You were so tiny. So delicate. I felt as if I might break you. I was scared to put your clothes on, to swaddle you, to wipe your little tush too hard, or seal your diaper too tight. Breastfeeding was a bitch. I’m not going to lie. It was hard. You didn’t want to latch. And I pumped for months, because I was bound and determined to make sure things panned out the way I had planned. Although, of course things never turn out exactly how you think they will. But we made it work. And we eventually came to have a fantastic nursing relationship.
People said this year would fly by. They said to make sure to enjoy it. I believed them, but when you’re up around the clock with only a few hours sleep and you can’t tell the difference between night and day as you are in those beginning weeks, sometimes I admit it was tough to enjoy things. Those weeks were hard. But sometimes I wish I could rewind and see you that tiny again…before you wanted to squirm away from me after a quick hug. When you would just lie on my chest for a three hour nap completely content. Those days we cannot get back. I look back at those photos from those first couple months, and I barely recognize that little baby anymore. You have grown and changed so much in what feels like such a short amount of time.
When you gave me that first smile, I just about melted. As hard as motherhood can be sometimes, it’s all worth it for every little smile, belly laugh, hug, and kiss you have given me. Anytime you accomplished something new in the past year…it was such a complete joy to watch. To know that maybe hours before you didn’t know how to roll over, but now you could…I felt such a sense of accomplishment for you. You were so frustrated when you couldn’t crawl. You would flail your arms and legs about like a flying fish, and spin in circles trying to make your move. But that day you learned to army crawl, you were so excited. You slid around the entire living room. And once you could really crawl, you took off to explore the entire apartment. Your sense of adventure and exploration reminds me of your Papa, and I love that you inherited that trait from him.
You are so curious. You have always loved to see what is going on around you. You really pay attention and focus on things, especially the alphabet, animals, and people playing music. I am shocked at the amount of focus you have sometimes to sit and entertain yourself with a toy or a book for a long time. You love to be outside whether it’s at the park, walking along the city streets, playing in the sand at the beach, or in the water at the pool. You have flown in airplanes with us, hiked mountains with us, and rode on endless car trips. You have made so many friends in the neighborhood, and you have attracted attention from admirers wherever we go. You are definitely a people person, (which I like to think you have inherited from me) and you are incredibly sweet and lovable to all of your stuffed animals.
I am feeling such a mix of emotions. I’m sad that you are growing up and moving from baby to toddler. I’m happy that you have accomplished so much in this past year. I’m excited for all the new adventures we will have in year two. I’m nervous about the new changes we have coming our way. I’m sentimental that we will never get back some of those amazing moments from when you were small. All of those old firsts are now taken for granted. However, I am anticipating all of the new firsts you will take on. I am proud of the person you are thus far, and I’m hopeful that your father and I will continue to guide you in the “right” direction…whatever that means. Most of all, I feel such an intense sense of love for you that grows by the minute. Every day I think it is impossible to love you that much more, and every day my love still grows and grows. The more time I spend with you, the less I want to be away from you. You make my heart full and it’s hard to imagine what life was like before you came into the picture.
You are my Little Monkey, my Nico Bonzo, my Booski, my Boo Boo, my Stinky Butt, my Bubba, my Babycakes, my world.
Thank you for making me a mother. Thank you for being you. Thank you for the constant light and joy you bring to our family every day.
I love you like crazy.
Happy 1st Birthday, Nico.
*First photo by Justin Goldberg. The rest, my own.*