Happy birthday! Today you are one year old, and my heart is bursting with joy. I recently made the annual photo book to share with our family, and just now I finished the slideshow of the (not quite) day-by-day photos I took of your first year. I set it to “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey and “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey (I think Jacob will appreciate the latter). As I sat watching it in these first moments of your birthday, I cried, seeing you unfold again before me.
You started your life as a chunkster, and you remain that way today. These last twelve months, you’ve come so alive. You move all over now. You make jokes, like repeating us when we say, “Ah-choo!” and recently, climbing into Jacob’s bed, flopping on the pillow, and pretending to sleep. You giggle because you know it’s funny.
In so many of the photos, I can see the relationship between you and Jacob building. I don’t think he’s gotten really mad at you yet; he loves to take care of you and keep you safe. I do think he gets a little thrill out of taking things you shouldn’t have out of your hands, but he’s not mean about it. He adores you, and I can tell from the way you look at him that you feel the same way. I hope this is something you treasure throughout your life.
You are starting to play with the big kids at play dates and the childcare here at home, and it is amazing to see you find your place with others so easily. You’re a little bit of a mama’s boy around adults you don’t recognize, but any kid is okay by you!
Yesterday we went to see the holiday trains at the New York Botanical Gardens, and Daddy and I were surprised to see how much you enjoyed it—so much so that I changed your birthday party theme from safari animals to trains on the spot! I asked Daddy to stop at the party store on the way home to buy new plates. Ha!
I love celebrating your birthday—and Daddy’s and Jacob’s too—because it means I get to do something out of the ordinary to express how special I know you are. Henry, your smile, your giggle, the way you snuggle into my shoulder means the world to me. You brought me healing in a hard time, and in these past few weeks especially, as we approached both your birthday and Ethan’s anniversary, I was so, so grateful to have you in my arms every day.
I look at you and I see a gift from God, a blessing, hope, love, joy, an answer to prayers, and exactly what our family needed.
In this next year, I imagine you will start to get into some trouble. You’re well on your way to walking and talking, and this time next year, you might very well be telling me, “No!” That’s okay. (I mean you’ll still get a time out, but in the long run, it’s okay.) It is such a joy to watch you grow up. I can’t wait to get to know you more this year.
Having a birthday around Christmas is going to be tough for you sometimes. To be honest, Daddy and I almost finished our Christmas shopping before I remembered you needed a birthday present, too! (Don’t worry; it’s awesome, and your party is going to be fabulous.) From my perspective though, it’s wonderful to have a Christmas time baby. It truly is a gift to be your mother.
I love you forever and ever with all my heart. Happy birthday!