Happy Birthday, Wild One

Dear Beckett,

One year ago, life looked very different.

The day before you arrived, I was eating Chinese Food and wondering if you were ever going to show up. I wondered if we might end up sharing a birthday. I hoped you wouldn’t end up being born on September 11. But, as I’ve been learning over the past year, you are a strong-willed little guy who likes to do things his way, and sure enough, that’s the day you chose.

On September 10th of last year, I knew nothing about you. I didn’t know what you’d look like, what you’d sound like, or what you’d feel like. I had no idea what kind of personality you’d have, or how well we’d get along. I guessed that you would probably keep me awake most of the night, and that you would look incredibly adorable in all of the perfect outfits we had waiting for you in your closet at home. I knew I would probably have stretch marks as a souvenir of the time I was your home, and wasn’t counting on the scar I ended up getting to go along with them. I assumed that I’d be tired when you arrived, and made freezer meals to help keep us fed when I was too exhausted to cook. I followed every piece of advice I could find on Pinterest to make sure that we were ready to start our new family the right way, but no amount of cooking, cleaning, or nesting could have prepared me for you.

I could never have prepared myself for how much my heart could ache with love upon meeting someone for the very first time.

I could never have prepared myself for all of the things I had never even realized I could fear suddenly keeping me up at night as I worried about your present and future. “Is he breathing? Should he be sleeping like that? Why is his poop that colour? Did he eat enough? What if he gets bullied? What if he is the bully? What if he doesn’t think I’m funny when he’s older? How do I protect him every minute of every day for the rest of his life without being a helicopter mom?”

I could never have prepared myself for the way that I would be so excited to know what you’ll be like as you grow up while wishing simultaneously that you would stay my baby forever.

I could never have prepared myself for the way you make me laugh without even having to try. Like real belly laughs that I can’t help.

I could never have prepared myself for the fact that I wouldn’t care about the yuck factor when changing a diaper or cleaning up vomit or runny noses because apparently, when it’s your child, you are immune to these things.

I could never have prepared myself for the way you would change every day before my eyes so quickly I’d hardly notice.

I could never have prepared myself for the way you would bring every generation of both sides of our family together in their shared love for you.

I could never have prepared myself for the fact that I would no longer be able to read I’ll Love You Forever without dissolving into a puddle of tears.

I could never have prepared myself for the way that selflessness could take on a whole new meaning as I realized that there’s nothing in this world I wouldn’t do for you.

I could never have prepared myself for the moment when I understood all of the reasons why my parents had made the rules for me that I had never understood when I was growing up.

I could never have prepared myself for all of the ways you would inspire me without even knowing what that word means.

I could never have prepared myself for the patience I had that I never knew existed.

I could never have prepared myself for the way that having a child would affect the way that I teach – suddenly I see you in each of my students and I see them in you.

I could never have prepared myself for how much being prepared really doesn’t matter. Life is actually pretty wonderful when you get to discover things a little bit at a time.

Thank you for being you, my little one year old. I love you more than I can find the words to express. You have changed our lives completely, and I can’t wait to see all of the joy and surprises the next year holds.

Love,

Your Mama

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