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.
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!.
– 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.