a Letter to my One Year Old

Dear Noah,
Tomorrow, you will be 1 year old, and I’ve been having trouble thinking about that. “My son is almost 1"...it’s hard to own something that still doesn’t feel real. For the entire first year of your life, Noah, I kept wondering when the wonderment of being your mother would wear off. And after 12 months of diapers and feedings, lullabies and nighttime snuggles, babbles and smiles and something new learned every day, I’ve come to the conclusion that it never will. I won’t lie — your first year felt both long and short, hard and effortless, like entering a foreign land but also landing right at home where I was always supposed to be. The one constant throughout this wild ride is that my love for you, bud, just keeps on growing, at a faster rate than you do.
I remember a friend asking me a few weeks after you were born, “How is motherhood?” And I wanted to say, “It’s wonderful, even better than I imagined,” because that sounded like an appropriate response. But it wasn’t the whole truth. So I said, “I’m obsessed with him,” because I was. I marveled at your every move and watched your every sleeping breath. I replayed your birth repeatedly, trying to make sense of something that could be someone else’s story, but certainly not mine. I had created this living thing, this baby boy. You were a part of me, and yet, you were perfect. I was not only a mother — I was your mother. My disbelief kept me up at night, even when you didn’t.
Despite the sleep deprivation, I tried my hardest to make the most of every minute, ‘cause everyone warned me your infancy would be gone before I knew it. They were right. I will be honest, the first few weeks were both trying for me and overwhelming trying to get the whole breast feeding thing down. I remember you being so hungry but couldn't latch properly. I was upset that I was failingi you, I was exhausted and overwhelmed. I wished that time would accelerate. Then you got a little older and I got wiser, and every day was a wonderful adventure. Already, it’s all something of a blur now, as most memories are. But these are ones I’m desperate not to let slip away.
You are presently at a stage where I wish I could freeze time. It is the most fun stage of all, though I’m sure I’ll say that about each subsequent one. You are so affectionate and giggly — and your giggle is more like a cackle. You are flirtatious and hilarious, spirited, silly and smart. Sometimes, when we’re looking at each other laughing, I also feel the urge to cry, because you must be too good to be true. I never want any of this to end. But, as they say, all good things must come to an end, and here we are at the end of your first year. A year in which I’ve learned that I’m more patient than I thought I was, you are more perfect than I thought possible.
A year later, I would answer my friend’s question the same way, though my obsession looks a little different now that a year has passed. I am no longer the source of your every meal; you’ll try anything and love everything, particularly if it comes from my plate. You are walking and talking, high-fiving and thriving. And I have a new title that I can barely say aloud, because I’ve never been so proud of anything. I am Noah's mom
The learning curve of motherhood has actually been much steeper than I anticipated. Looking back on it, I think I expected being a mother to be a lot like being a babysitter, but better. (Laughable now.) I figured that with my own kid I wouldn’t have to worry so much, but about that I was sorely mistaken. C.S. Lewis wrote, “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” No one ever told me that, either. But everyone told me that motherhood did. “Are you ready to never have a worry-free night again for 18 years?” a friend asked me when I was pregnant. “Forget 18 years,” others said. “You’ll worry for a lifetime.” And already I know that’s true.
I spend most of the evening, every evening, playing with you, being silly while I am making dinner dancing around the kitchen with you and then reading stories to you as you fall asleep. Once you are asleep I return all of your toys to their homes for a new day of play tomorrow. But before long, I start missing you. I love the nights that you wake from your sleep and I put you in bed with me. Feeling your warm, chubby body melt into my arms, I know that I mean ultimate comfort to you, and I never want you to lose that. Watching you dance at the drop of a tune with your now signature moves, hearing you roar with laughter at the most random of things, being the recipient of your sweet, slobbery, open-mouthed kisses — I never want to miss out on a single part of you. Maybe I write these words to leave my legacy, since life can be short and unfair. Or maybe it’s like Natalie Goldberg says: “Writers end up writing about their obsessions.” Or maybe it’s that I’ve always been more articulate on paper than I am in person, and I need you to know, Noah, exactly what you mean to me.
You mean everything. And that will never change. No matter what our lives become, my love will always be the place that you can call home. 
Like my dad and your papa always says: 
I love you to the moon, and back. 


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