Monday, April 8, 2013

A Love Note To My One Year Old

Ouch. My cheeks sting. My throat is closing, as if I swallowed a rock. And something deep inside is hurting. Tomorrow is my baby's first birthday. It should be a happy occassion. Although I am feeling many things right now, happy is not included in that list.

Can it really be a year ago that I tightly wrapped my precious newborn and carried him out into the world? I remember holding him with so much devotion, it was like he were a priceless unclaimed treasure that I had to keep clasping desperately in order to claim as my own. The day he was born, I accepted Ryan's babyhood as a beloved, sacred gift. A package straight from God, addressed to and personalized for me. A package that I had asked for and waited for patiently (and not so patiently) for too long.

Everyone talks about how special it is the first time you become a mom. It's true. There are so many special things that happen when your first child is born. It changes you, like a messy, exhausting, breathless, amazing rite of passage. But, this second time around, I am much more appreciative of every single moment. I am much more aware of the passing of each day. Every gummy smile that crossed Ryan's face alerted me to the fact that I had one less gummy smile in my future as my baby grew into a toddler.

This must be why Ryan's one-year milestone is so hard for me. I know now, more so than ever, how fleeting and precious the moments of babyhood really are. Knowledge is both a blessing and a back-stabber. While I know how much I have to look forward to as my baby grows, I also know exactly what I am losing the day Ryan turns one.

This sadness has a cure. I'm going to keep having babies. Forever. How does a person survive without a sweet toothless baby in the house? I think this is why Ryan is not yet walking or talking. He just knows that his mommy and daddy need him to be a baby a little while longer. I'm not complaining. Not one bit!

Happy Birthday Ryan. You have filled our home with so much love and admiraton. You have brought mommy and daddy so many pillow-talk conversations about how precious you are and just how lucky we are to be your parents. Not only have you given your big brother a playmate, but you have taught him how to love, how to protect, how to teach. In your quiet, gentle way, you taught Jacob what it is like to care for someone outside himself. You have taught mommy and daddy what it is like to love beyond all will and control. And you taught all of us that the fountain of love is limitless.

I was so afraid when you were born that there wouldn't be enough love to go around. That, like water in a large container, my love would only fill you and Jacob half way. But with your birth, I discovered that love is not like water at all. Love is like light. It has no boundaries and can expand to fit the container that it holds.

Like light, love has no definite boundaries. It is not guided by the same laws that bind the rest of us. It is stronger than pain, exhaustion, hunger, fear. And that is why, I feel fully confident in making you this promise:

There is nothing you or the unpredictable forces of life can do that will weaken my love. The overwhelming, brimming love that I feel for you today, as I wrap your tiny body in my arms and as your soft, chubby cheeks press against my chest, will always be here. No matter what you do. I know you will test this promise many times in your life. Go ahead. It is here for you to test and stretch and challenge. But, it will never change. Unless, of course, it grows stronger.


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