And seeing your father with you - this man who I fell in love with so long ago now - and how amazing he is with you and how he is the only other person in the world who shares in being your parent. I have fallen even harder in love with him through you. I've seen him, some nights, watching you sleep. Just as amazed as I am at the incredible person you are and the fact that something so beautiful and unique and incredible came from him, me, us. I've seen him hold you while you sleep, not putting you down on purpose, just to get a few more minutes (or hours) to spend with you. He loves to make you laugh, and he's good at it. He is so excited to be your friend. You should see how willing he is to make a fool out of himself around you - just to make you happy (and believe me, this is not a man to be a fool very often). He's spent hours blowing bubbles for you, hours blowing raspberries and making funny faces at you, entire evenings sitting outside and watching the cars pass by our house, and hours rocking you late at night when you can't sleep and I need to. He's changed for the better too. He's an amazing and loving man, and I couldn't imagine a better father for you. I did pretty good in the dad department, didn't I?
This has been the shortest and longest year of my life. I'm not going to lie, having a baby is hard work. I have had to summon up more patience than I ever knew existed, and I have survived on less sleep than I thought was possible. And I'm sorry if I failed you sometimes, wasn't the mother you deserve. It'll happen again though, and I hope you understand that I will always try to do my best. But oh, I don't want this year to be over. I can already see the face of a little boy in you, and I understand why mom's fight so hard against that first hair cut. In a year of firsts, I want to leave my baby a baby a little longer. I know you're not grown up yet, and I'll look back on one and wish I had it back too, but right now you're continuing on that trajectory of growing up way too fast. Where are you going in such a hurry?
Those first few weeks really felt like they stood still. I remember my friends talking about their 4 month old, their 6 month old, 9 month old, and I thought - not my baby, that's so old! It'll be forever until he's that old. I used to say things like "he's three and a half weeks," because you were a different baby to me within that half a week, because sometimes that half week made a world of difference. Day by day you break my heart and grow away from that newborn boy they placed purple and slimy and so very beautiful on my chest one year ago today. And here we are at one. When did years become so short?
Watching you grow this last year has been nothing short of a miracle. I'm not an expert in babies or human development, so I really had just a general idea that you would someday walk, talk, and interact. Watching you develop from this little bundle of grunts and random jerky motions into a smiling, laughing, grabbing, sometimes screaming, interacting, talking, mobile little boy...all within a year? It's the coolest thing I've ever seen. What an incredible difference the first year makes!
Sometimes I wonder what we did without you. I wonder why we waited so long for you, because it feels like you complete us. I love saying the word family, and it was you who made us into that. Although I miss the days when we could leave the house at a moments notice, stay out past 7:30 and sleep in past 6 am, you are more fun than any of that. I never realized what I didn't have. Because while we struggled to conceive I sometimes questioned if I really needed a child, not knowing how it would be, and if it was worth the heartache, the waiting, the wondering. But you have surpassed my wildest dreams. There is no word in my vocabulary, no word in any language for how amazing you are to me. You are worth any trip to the moon and back.
I hope you remember, and that you will always know, how all encompassing my love for you is. And even though I know in these coming years I will scream at you, you will scream at me, and we'll both roll our eyes at each other, get frustrated with the other, and sometimes want to be nowhere near each other, I will always love you. Always. And I will always be your mom, and somewhere in there you will always be that sweet beautiful baby I first fell in love with. I love you Eli, my big guy, my little bug, with all my heart and more. Happy First Birthday.
"You Were Born" - Cloud Cult
"Wild Thing" - Misty Miller