Happy birthday, baby! You are one year old. One year on this earth. One year in this home. One year as part of our family. It feels like a mere moment, and yet a lifetime all at once (and, in your case, I suppose it has been a lifetime after all!)
This month was a big one for you: you took your first steps! At first you would only take two steps at a time, and only if you really felt like it. Mostly you still preferred to drop to the ground and crawl at increasingly high speed. Then one day, you took four steps, right into my arms. And two days after that, you had suddenly decided that you could and would walk across the whole room all by yourself, just like that. You are amazing, sweet boy! I love seeing your wobbly little legs moving so purposefully to get you from one place to another. Your hands stretched slightly outward for balance. Your sweet face so focused and then so excited once you make it to your destination. You are a joy to watch, baby boy.
You have also started talking a little bit. You wave and say bye ("Ba!"), especially to daddy as he is leaving for work. Sometimes when I am in a different room, you yell "Maa!" (so, so cute). And my favourite is this little sound/word that you do that sounds something like "Ohhhh sis!" and seems to mean "What's this?" You always say it when you see something new or interesting, or are showing me an object.
You also make a really good kissing noise, which you put on display when you kiss us or your stuffed animals, especially Dad Bear. You love him so much, you are always heaving your body onto his and nuzzling into his soft fur. The cutest.
If we ask you "Where are your toes?" you look down and grab your little feet -- adorable. And when your daddy and Everett are playing hockey in the basement and get excited about scoring a goal, you throw your hands up and make some excited sounds of your own. It won't be long before you are joining in the action too.
We took you swimming a few times this month, and you are crazy for it! You especially love crawling up and down the little ramps that lead into the water, splashing all over the place, and then crawling back up to start again. Just wait until summer, little water bug! You will love it.
Right now, at one year old, your favourite things include: people singing you songs, clapping your hands, giving kisses, bath time, Dad Bear, food of any kind (you are SUCH a good eater!), playing with pots and pans (mostly banging the lids on the floor), throwing your soother on the floor, night time cuddles with mama and daddy, pulling off the floor vent covers, pushing just about anything around the room, looking at books (in a not-so-gentle way), mama nibbling your tummy, and watching out the window for daddy to get home from work.
One year ago today you were born. It was an extraordinarily warm March day. I had a cold and had felt very terrible the day before. That morning, I couldn't quite believe that you might be coming so soon. And then, at 1:07 p.m., I pulled your little body onto my chest and saw you for the first time. My darling little boy. You were mine, and I was your mama, and I loved you fiercely from that very first minute.
And now we have spent one whole year together. There have been road trips, weekend getaways, wedding, parties, and family dinners. Trips to the beach and the zoo and the farm. You visited the tulips in the spring, took swing rides in the summer, tasted fresh picked apples in the fall, and went tobogganing in the winter. You were a tiny baby in a blue bunny hat on your first Easter, a smiley scarecrow on your first Halloween, and the happiest little man in grey fleece pyjamas, full of wonder, on your first Christmas morning. So many adventures, big and small. So many memories, my heart is packed to the brim. I know you won't remember it, but you've had a wonderful first year, sweet boy.
As for me, despite all of the fun outings and adventures from the past year, here is what I will remember most: I will remember walking down the stairs with your tiny body snuggled against mine, seeing the springtime sunshine flooding through the windows below, and stopping to look in the mirror at that image -- that image of a mama, tired and happy, and her beautiful new baby. I will remember smiling and feeling so thankful, and wishing that I could live in that moment for a moment or two longer. I will remember you sleeping against my chest as I reclined on the couch, watching TV and smelling the top of your fuzzy blonde head. I will remember propping you up against my bent knees, kissing your bare toes, and seeing you smile at me for the first time, that little dimple nestled in your cheek. I will remember walking down the street and around our neighbourhood, with your body so snug and cozy against my chest in the stretchy wrap, your breathing rhythmic and heavy as you slept to the sounds of the world moving around you. I will remember you lying on the sheepskin in the middle of the floor, and reaching up to touch my face as I leaned in to talk to you. I will remember quiet afternoons spent cuddling and napping together, how small you looked in the middle of that great big bed, the sun peeking through the curtains, and the two of us falling asleep in that golden afternoon glow. I will remember those most deliciously genuine wet and sloppy kisses. I will remember carrying you in my arms, as often as you wanted, as often as I wanted, and kissing that spot on your forehead between your eyes -- the one that makes you calm and sleepy. I will remember you on your tippy toes, peeking over the edge of the bath as it filled with water. I will remember you clapping your pudgy little hands any chance you got, even while nursing. I will remember your contagious, joyful smile, and that positively infectious belly laugh. I will remember the way your little wiggling bum looks as you crawl across the floor. I will remember the way you look when you sleep on me -- your lips all smushed, your eyelashes falling onto your round cheeks, and your mouth forming an "O" as you breathe in and out. I will remember spending one whole year with the sweetest, most joyous little boy. I will remember the wondrous hurt that comes with loving someone this much. These quiet, simple moments -- they are ours. Yours and mine. And they are my most beloved. I treasure them and hold them in my heart, always.
One year with you. You have made our family bigger and better and happier than ever before. You have filled this house with joy. You have made us smile every day. And you have made us so, so thankful that you are ours.
Happy first birthday to you, Caleb Shay. You are wonderful. We love you so. xoxo