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A Letter to My Son for His Birthday

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Dear Eli,

A few days from now will mark an entire year since you were born. My mind can hardly fathom how this year has already gone by; your newborn days were so long and I was so tired, but now it seems like the days and months speed by and catch me, totally unprepared. I’m in awe of the person you are becoming, of your development and personality. Though this birthday won’t mean anything to you, it means a lot to me.

Labor and birth were hard. Really hard. Right after you were born, the doctors and nurses whisked you away to suction some fluid from your lungs and make sure everything was ok. When they finally placed your little body in my arms, the feeling of complete and utter relief and amazement washed over me. I cried and cried as I held you, so completely grateful for your life but also a little terrified.

When we brought you home, we worried about how the dog would react. It turned out that she hardly noticed you until many months passed. Then she would beg by your high chair, and you threw her food with delight. She licked your hands for any trace crumbs, and you giggled at the touch of her rough tongue.

The first few months were not easy for me. I began to obsess over feeding you, as you gained and lost precious ounces. I was terrified of falling down the stairs or dropping you. I loved you so much, but I also felt trapped. I worried about my ability to be a good mom, and felt so completely guilty over breastfeeding difficulties. As you continue to thrive, grow, and learn, you teach me new skills every day. I take care of you, but I have to take care of myself, too. You make me realize my own strength.

I remember the first time you smiled. I remember the first time you laughed. You learned to track with your eyes and hold your head up, and you started to coo and babble. I watched you reach new milestones that I didn’t even know were milestones! Watching you grow is truly breathtaking. Sometimes I feel as though I can see your mind turning, piecing together new information. You surprise me often, as you take in new sights and sounds. I love watching you explore and discover.

You love a good joke, though what qualifies as a good joke is fairly basic; sneezes are pretty funny, pretend eating is hysterical. You delight in books – though mostly you’re interested in turning the pages! Food is delicious, especially fruit – especially especially watermelon and berries. My aunt gave you a card that plays the chicken dance when you open it, and you relentless opened, shook, tore, and picked at the card until you uncovered the musical mechanism. Peekaboo is so entertaining that I’ve often seen you playing by yourself – in your crib or carseat. You wave hello and blow kisses. While you are usually extremely busy, when you stop for a snuggle, they are the sweetest touches.

It’s been a whirlwind, this first year. Becoming your mother has been exhausting and wonderful, scary and exciting, humbling, and simply amazing. Happy birthday, my doodle.


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