You’ll never understand how much you’ve taught me, my son

Dear AJ,

Happy 1st birthday!   I know you are too young to read or even understand this letter, but I wanted to say a few things to you before time passes and my memory fades.

Can you really be a year old already!?!  I feel like you were just born – I remember delivering you as though it were yesterday – and yet, I can’t imagine what my life was like without you.

Holding you moments after you were born

I’ve tried to teach you as much as I could the 365 days you’ve been with us.  You are a pretty quick learner – you do SO many things already – you are walking running, you are talking – you say words such as “mama”, “dada”, “more”, “hot”, “bubble”, “Elmo” and “moo” (that’s your newest one!), you give mommy and daddy kisses, you like to do “touchdown” when you get the ball in the hoop, you wave hello and goodbye, you are beginning to feed yourself with a fork…I could go on and on, but suffice to say, you are making mommy and daddy proud of all of your little accomplishments already!

AJ, I knew I would be teaching you things from the day you were born – that’s what moms are supposed to do!  But, I never knew how much YOU would teach ME.  I will try to explain to you all the little – and big – things you have taught me, shown me, and helped me realize in the rest of this letter.

– The real meaning of unconditional love.  I’ve heard it so many times before, but never understood what it felt like until you were born.  I will always love you – no matter what.

– The kitchen floor will always have crumbs on it.  No ifs, ands, or buts about it.  Regardless of how many times I am on my hands and knees cleaning it, the crumbs find a way to hide in every crevice of your body and secretly pop out all over the floor right after I clean it.

– A crying baby on a plane does NOT mean that he/she has bad parents.  My heart goes out to those poor souls who are trying to do everything they can to soothe and quiet their baby.  I used to judge those parents.  But, since you’ve been born, I’ve had the misfortune privilege of being those parents.  I also know the “I feel your pain” look that other parents give you before you board the plane. You’ve given me access to this secret club.

– Breastfeeding is the most amazing, natural, and intimate experience we could have shared together.  Thank you for making it so easy for us when you were first born.  I know I said I wanted to breastfeed you for a year, but would you be willing to go a little bit longer?  Maybe another few weeks? Or a few more months?  I can’t imagine not having our “special” time anymore.

Quality over quantity.  I am not running nearly as many miles as I was before I was pregnant with you.  But, I’m faster and in better shape. You’ve taught me to make every run, every workout count because I don’t know if I’ll have the opportunity to do one tomorrow.

“Sleeping in” = 7am.  I miss sleeping in.

–  I can function (surprisingly well) on just a few hours of sleep.

–  I am no longer embarrassed with singing aloud.  If it will make you happy or calm you down, I will do it anywhere – in the car, in a store, in a restaurant. No shame. No inhibition. And you know what?  Nobody cares – all they see is a happy, smiling little boy.

–  Oh – I also dance in public now as well.

–  I know entirely too much about what the different colors of poop mean. No need to divulge this useful information to you now.  You’ll learn when it’s time.

–   The importance (and need) of extended family.  Mommy and Daddy had planned on moving to New Jersey for years because we wanted a big house with acres of land. The three of us moved next door to Grandma (and within driving distance of most of your aunts) when you were a few months old to save some money.  From day one in our new apartment, we saw how much you were loved and adored – and realized that we want you to grow up with all that love on a regular basis and not just on monthly visits.  In less than two months, we will be living in our first home – on Staten Island – close to our family.

–  Stay-at-home moms have the hardest and most important job in the world.  I used to look down on those that chose their family over their careers. I couldn’t understand what filled their days.  I assumed soap operas, getting their nails done, and talking on the phone. Now I know the truth.

–  Each of your “firsts” have been the highlight of my life.  I will always remember the first time you reached out to touch a toy or the first time you really smiled at me.  Small milestones in the broad scheme of life, but huge accomplishments for you!.

One of your first smiles

– The art of time management.  I used to have all day to get things done. Now, my day is structured around your routine – your naps, your meals and snacks, bathtime, nursings.  I’ve learned how to make the most out of every free moment I have – whether that’s before you get up or after you go to sleep or during one of your naps.  I no longer “waste’ time on unimportant “things”.

– The importance of a good night’s sleep.  Mommy and Daddy are usually in bed by 10pm.  We want to be able to greet you as cheery as we can be when you wake up – even if you choose to start your day at 5am.

– How amazing a mother Grandma (my mommy) was.  I never gave it much thought how hard it was for her to have 4 children – all under the age of 7 (and at one point 3 kids ages 3, 2, and 6 months.)  I guess you don’t appreciate and realize what it’s like until you are in a similar situation.

Patience, patience, patience.  My 10 years with the Army only added to my lack of patience.  You’ve helped me slow down and appreciate all the little moments.  Who cares if it takes 30 minutes for you to eat your breakfast in the morning? Or that we are late for a family gathering because you had an explosive diaper just as we were leaving the house?

– Mommy and Daddy are the richest people in the world.  Not with material things like an expensive car or designer clothes.  No.  We are rich because our lives are filled with you and your love. I’ve never felt so fulfilled and content in my life.  You have filled my heart with so much love.  Each night I go to bed, I think that I can’t possibly love you any more.  And then I wake up the next day and feel like my heart doubled in size again.

Thank you, my sweet little boy for the last 365 days.  I happily look forward to sharing many more years together.  I love you more than I can every fully express to you.

Mommy  xoxo

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    37 thoughts on “You’ll never understand how much you’ve taught me, my son

    1. I just wanna say that was very beautifully written and so heartelt. Happy 1st birthday to your gorgeous son. I have 4 children 3 boys & a girl. Even though my baby is 16 all my children still bring cherished moments everyday to my life. I was just recently blessed with a beautiful grandson & I love watching his mommy & daddy feel the excitement of his first everything too. He just turned 6 months old & its so nice watching his reaction yo everything now, & as you said as well when he first started reaching for things his mom just melted with joy. Im actually going to show her this tomaro cuz she will love to read it.

    2. Michele, This is so sweet and touching. I was teary-eyed reading this! From one stay-at-home Mom to another…THANK YOU for beautifully expressing how important our job is as Mothers. Everything you said from the breastfeeding to time management is soooo true! Happy Belated Birthday to cutie patootie AJ!
      Sonia (Paul’s cousin in Austin)

    3. Pingback: Envisioning Success on a Long Run | nycrunningmama

    4. What a wonderful post, Michele! So emotional and true. I totally agree with you about your mom, too. She was (and is) amazing. I remember her always making sure the little, ordinary bits of your day were special– like writing your names in colored markers on your lunch bags and drawing pictures. Even if she was falling asleep exhausted, it was still important to her. No shortcuts! You are so lucky to have a close, loving family. And it’s great to see that you really appreciate all that that means. Happy birthday to your little boy.

      • Gerri – thanks for your sweet comment! How do you remember all that my mom used to do!??! I definitely took ALL that she did for granted when I was younger – I guess it’s because it’s the only thing I was used to – so to me, it was normal to have little notes every few days in my lunch bag =)
        I hope you and your family are all doing well – you and my mom should get together one day soon and catch up!!

    5. This is amazing! I love it. I could cry reading this. I felt the same away about everything! Breastfeeding continued longer, everything took longer, my patience had to grow, my scheduling had to improve and I feel so differently about staying at home. Excellent blog! Happy First Birthday AJ!

      • Thanks, Diana!! I used to think that going to a year with bfing would be so difficult, but it got easier and easier – and has become more and more important to me. I get so sad when I think about it ending soon =(

    6. This is a wonderful post! I’m not a parent yet, but your reflections on family and motherhood make me excited for when I come to that milestone. Congratulations and Happy Birthday AJ!

    7. Wow Michele, this is a very beautiful letter I got teary eyed. I am not a mama yet but just reading your delicate words filled me with joy. Your son is lucky to have such amazing parents. Happy 1st Birthday to your sweet boy!
      – Danielle

    8. Michele, this was beautiful! Your post almost brought me to tears. I got choked up more than a few times. Yours and Paul’s love for AJ is so touching. I am so glad social media has allowed you to share your lives and photos with us. I absolutely adore that sweet beaming smile of AJ’s. He is one of the happiest babies I’ve ever seen. That is a direct reflection of yours and Paul’s great parenting. Happy 1st Birthday to AJ! Keep enjoying each and every moment!

      Love, Laurie

      • Thank you, Laurie! I wish we lived closer b/c we would love to see you! And I’m thankful that social media is what it is for the very same reasons you mentioned! We had a fabulous day yesterday and are excited to start the 2nd year of his life!! =) xoxo

    9. Michele – this truly was a pleasure to read. I’m obviously not a mother but, I’ve really enjoyed watching you transition into one and of course, watching little AJ growing up each month. You guys looks so amazingly happy. I love to see the photos of your large family gatherings and all the smiles upon each of your faces. What greater gift can you give in life but, love. And you truly do exude love wherever you are and go in life. You’re a great friend and a serious inspiration to me. I love you Michele, enjoy your special day with AJ and family!

      • Melissa, your comment made me cry. Thank you so much for the beautiful words…I love you too – I miss you so much…just wish the distance between us wasn’t what it is. I am constantly thinking about our 530am runs together…I miss having that these days…Hopefully we get to see you soon! xoxo

    10. What a great post and what a great gift to him when he is old enough to read it and appreciate it! That first year is so special. I still think my favorite day of all time was celebrating my oldest’s first birthday.

      Happy birthday to you all!

      • Thanks, again, Amanda!!! It’s such a strange feeling – I’m so excited for him to get older to do so many more fun things with him…but at the same time, I want him to stay this age forever!

    11. Happy Birthday, AJ! What a sweet post. Great job nursing for the first year! That’s an awesome accomplishment. I also nursed my son past a year because it was such a special part of our relationship.

      • It seems that a lot of moms continue past the year mark – that makes me feel so great! Nursing becomes more and more special the longer I do it =)

    12. I love this post! Happy Birthday to your little man. I loved nursing my daughter and was so sad when it ended. Enjoy this special day, I will never forget my first daughter’s first birthday.

      • Thanks, Robin! I am getting so sad about the end approaching. I hope to do it as long as he wants now =) Congrats, again on a fantastic run! Hope you are feeling great and recovering well!

      • Really? That’s so awesome to hear! I thought that when I hit the year mark, I would be tired of it and ready to move on. But I found that the older he got, the more I loved it. I really don’t want it to end :/