It’s been a while since I wrote one of these to you. Things are happening at a different pace in this second half of your first year. I am less anxious about being a mom, and at the same time, you are transforming from a baby baby into a little boy. You need fewer nursing sessions and fewer diaper changes (although you positively howl when we do change you), and you’re on a much more consistent nap/sleep schedule than you were in your early months. I’m learning how to use our time as best we can, and it feels like we have more freedom to go where we like, as long as we’re home for naptime.
It’s not that there aren’t still milestones to keep track of—recently you learned to eat from a snack cup, you momentarily stood on your own, and of course, you learned to dance. You’ve also started to understand and respond to instructions I give you, which I think is awesome. It totally changes the way a day feels to me to have you stop when I say “no” (you shake your head first, because you know that goes with the words “no,” “stop,” or “you may not”). You can also find your sippy cup or your snack cup and use them when I say and sign that to you. Pretty cool stuff, little man.
One of my favorite new developments is that you’ve learned to hug. Often it’s in the morning or after a nap when I pick you up. You turn your head and rest it on my shoulder, nestling into the hollow of my collarbone, and I stand there and hold you, trying not to move for fear of disturbing you and thanking God for this precious little boy He sent me. You are perfect in every way, little man, and I love you so much.
You’ve also learned to give kisses. Kind of. I think. Probably because we so often kiss the top of your head, you seem to think that ramming your head into us equals a kiss. I guess it does, if you want it to. Sometimes in the middle of the day, if I’m on the floor playing with you, you’ll crawl right into me. It’s like a game of Chicken you’re determined to win. But then you’ll pull/crawl up me to stand and go in for a real hug, which your dad and I agree is officially the new greatest thing on the planet.
Your birthday is coming up soon, my dear. Kind of. It’s still more than a month away, but I just can’t wait to celebrate this wonderful year we’ve had with you! I’ve been trying to figure out what kind of cake I’ll make you for a couple of weeks already. All this allergy stuff makes it a little more challenging, but we’ll do our best. (And for those family members reading this who are celebrating with us, don’t worry; I’m making a real cake for you.)
Oh, Jacob, Jacob, Jacob. I don’t know if it’s because we spend so much time together or just because you’re my son, but you’ve been doing some of my favorite things lately. Because you can choose where you go and what you do, to an extent, it’s really cool for me to see you do things like sit and read board books for a good ten minutes at a time. Eighty-five percent of the time, the book is upside-down, but you’re really just in it for the fuzzy animals and the pages that turn at this point, so that’s fine.
You snuggle a whole lot, too, and I find myself calling you Snuggles or Snuggle Bear more than anything else these days.
Your best friend, the lady who sits behind us at church, told me a few weeks ago that you haven’t really been sick or anything because you are so strong and so happy. I think she’s right. You have such joy, such an impenetrable and infectious happiness. Even though you make faces and cry like the world is ending when I take away something you’re not allowed to play with, you bounce back quickly, and before I know it you’re giggling again. I almost think that, if it were possible, you’d never speak; you’d just spend your whole life laughing. You’re cute enough that I think it might just work, too.
Little man, I have no intention of comparing your life to the divinity of Christ, but as I consider all the little stories I could put in this letter, I am reminded of the last verse of the Gospel of John. It says, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25). Likewise, every day with you is another miracle, and there is simply too much for me to capture here.
I am tempted to say I am amazed by all that’s happened over the last year, but I think a more accurate word is “humbled”. I am humbled by how much you’ve grown, all you’ve learned, and the happy, beautiful boy you are and always will be. I am humbled by the work God has done in me through you, teaching me to give more, to love more, to be more than I otherwise would have, could have been. I believe true love is something that brings out the best in people; its beauty is that makes the one who loves a better person. And that, my dear, is exactly what you have done for me.
Let’s start counting down to your birthday now, so I have an excuse to celebrate you as much as you deserve. Only thirty-five more days . . .
With a vegan, nut-free, wheat-free cupcake, and always all my heart,