Heidi May 14th, 2008
My dear son,
On the morning of your first birthday, I woke up and immediately smiled.
He turns one today, I thought to myself as excitement filled my heart.
Then I heard you wake up and raced to your room to be the first one to pick you up.
(But your Dad beat me to it. He always beats me to it!)
Your Papa and gg got up, too, because they were here all the way from Texas and didn’t want to miss a single minute of your birthday.
All through the day we had so much fun together. I watched you play with your new toys and pull off your birthday crown.
And my thoughts kept going back to what was happening the year before.
I’d look at the clock and ask your Dad, “Do you remember what we were doing now?”
He’d smile and say, “Yeah, we decided it was time to do a C-section and you asked me for a blessing” or “The Little Man was just born and I was walking him back to our room” or “You were feeding him for the very first time”…
Then we sang to you and you stared at us and the single burning candle in your piece of cake.
You loved the frosting-free banana cake I made for you. That made me happy.
Then it was time to get ready for bed and your exciting day ended peacefully after a family prayer.
After you went to bed, we stayed up and watched a movie.
Then it was late and Papa and gg went off to bed.
I wanted a snack before I went to bed, so I sat down at the counter. But before I could take my first bite, unexpected emotions came spilling out of me.
Nobody told me about this part of a birthday, I thought to myself as my throat tightened and the tears spilled over.
And that’s when I tiptoed up to your room and knelt down in the dark next to your crib.
Your Dad stood by my side for a moment and watched me knowingly. Then he squeezed my shoulder and left.
I looked at you and saw my new one-year-old son sleeping soundly and beautifully.
I reached out and took hold of your pajama clad foot that was sticking out of the crib.
As I held onto you, I thought back over the year and how much you’d changed and how much I loved you.
I wished that time could hold still and pass all at the same time.
I wished that I could have the son I saw right then and the son I first held in my arms all at the same time.
I didn’t want to go back to that first day of your birth and miss what I had right then, but I wanted to have it all together somehow.
Eventually, the tears stopped coming and I dried my eyes.
I smiled at you and the dear little boy you are.
Then I whispered ever so softly, “Happy Birthday, my son.”
I gave your little foot one more squeeze and memorized your face one moment longer.
And then I let you go.