I’m in awe of the change that can happen in just 365 days.
My baby is turning ONE this week—a whole trip around the sun. It’s been such a quick year, a whirlwind…and yet it’s hard to remember life before him. This isn’t my first go-round—I have a three-year-old—and again, I’m stunned at how quickly they grow. I’m reminded over and over, as they learn new things and achieve milestones, that time is fleeting. My older son was barely two when the baby was born. Talking in jumbled two-word sentences and wearing footie pajamas 24/7, he looked upon his new brother with a mix of confusion and apathy.
My younger son, my baby, has been a joy. He was born over 10 pounds…and I swear a half-pound of that was cheeks. He is social, charming, active, silly, and overall easy-going. And yet I’m still struck by the change—how a child can go from what is essentially an adorable bundle of reflexes at birth, to a little person—a tiny person who is now refusing to get dressed for school by riding away from me on a Paw Patrol car. In the last month, he learned to stack blocks, use a straw, say “wow” and “go,” play ball back and forth, and balance on his ride-on-toy. I swear just yesterday he was lying there, looking at me like, “So you’re my mom, huh? Make yourself useful and get some milk.” Now he climbs onto chairs and says “uh oh” while smirking at me…since he knows he’s not supposed to do that. How can 365 days create a person? It’s insane…and awesome.
Sometimes we are the first two people awake, my babe and I. In the early morning, the sun barely up, I’ll rock him slowly and snuggle against his little head. He still smells good, but he’s definitely lost that “new baby” smell. I close my eyes and try to memorize the weight of him—how he fills my arms but not my whole lap, the softness of that baby skin, still untouched by life’s harshness, against my cheek. I examine his hands and his feet. I am telling myself constantly to remember these moments, imprint them so I’ll never forget…because I know before long, he won’t want to be rocked in the morning, and he might not fit in my lap. His cheek will lose that softness at some point—replaced by perhaps a scar, pimples of adolescence, FACIAL HAIR (good Lord!), and I will want to remember what he felt like when he was my not-quite-one year old.
The reality is, we are guaranteed nothing. And time moves quickly. This has been the fastest year of my life, and each year moves faster than the last. This year I’ve learned that you can, indeed, multiply the unconditional and overwhelming love you have for your first child and love your second equally and completely. I’ve learned that parenting is trial-and-error even the second time around, because each child is unique. I’ve learned to slow down and smell my baby’s head, because before you know it he’s going to be a stinky toddler that reeks of mac-n-cheese and rebellion. And I’ve learned to treasure my time, especially these years, because you don’t get them back.
So to my baby—Happy birthday! I hope this next year brings joy, peace, and happiness. I hope I can support you to grow and become the best version of yourself. I hope your cheeks stay soft, and you still want to snuggle me for a long time to come. Here’s to another trip around the sun!