Today you are 1 year old! It seems like just yesterday we welcomed you into the world. You have brought more joy to our lives, each and every single day, than we could have ever imagined. You make us all smile and laugh. You fit right in with our crazy crew from day one. While the past year has flown by, I have really, truly taken time to enjoy each and every moment.
When people told me to “enjoy every moment” with your siblings, it drove me nuts. It seemed like an impossible task in the midst of tantrums and teething. It will fly by, they always say. How? I’d think. On the days that it seemed like an eternity from breakfast to nap time, I didn’t understand just how it would “fly by.” But it does. Seven years now, I’ve been a parent. Seven years have flown by faster than it seems possible.
So when I looked at your tiny face on the night you were born, I knew what all those people meant. I knew the little things about you that would disappear and change when I least expected it. I knew that the sleepless nights would end, but along with them, the feeling of a tiny newborn who fit perfectly on my chest would vanish too. So I made a promise to you and to myself, to really enjoy those fleeting baby moments.
But regardless of enjoying every moment, you can’t slow down time. That started to scare me and make me sad. You are my last baby. Why can’t time just slow down? We got so excited each time we watched you hit a new milestone, but with it, we said goodbye to a stage in your life, and also a stage in ours.
Over the past month, I’d be lying if I said it was all excitement over here planning for today. The party planning and the countdown your sisters have going has been so special. Getting ready to celebrate the birthday of our smiley baby is joyful of course. But for me, I’ve had quite a few sad nights. When I fold those tiny clothes and say to your dad, “I can’t believe next month, we’ll have no more babies.” It bothered me that I was feeling sad. It felt quite selfish to feel down during an exciting time, simply because I wasn’t ready to let go of a stage in my life. I wasn’t ready to grasp the fact that our youngest was turning 1, and we were leaving the days of newborns, infants, and counting ages by months. We weren’t going to have any more babies in our house.
But then it hit me: You’ll always be my baby — you and your siblings. Parenting doesn’t stop at a year. I will say goodbye to so many things after the first year, so many things I have enjoyed dearly, but I will parent you all for the rest of my life.
You will need me in different ways as you grow, but you’ll always be my baby. Your dad joked about how much we do for your siblings and how much they are all still babies too. There have been so many nights over the past year that the three of them have needed me more than you have. We would often say, “Miles is by far the easiest.” I know I will miss holding you, but I will no matter how big you grow, because you will always be my baby. And, as the youngest of 4, I foresee plenty of “Oh, Mooommm!” as I remind you that you are “the baby” of the family.
We celebrate with joy today, Miles, that you are a year old. You are growing and learning. Your joy is contagious. You are the budding jokester of the family. Nothing delights you quite like making your siblings laugh. You love to be held and love to give hugs. Your eyes light up when you see us, and your smile lights up our lives.
So happy birthday, my sweet boy, and please remember:
You will not always hold my hand by just holding onto my finger, and the tiny dimples on your hand will disappear, but you will always be my baby.
You will not always sit at my feet while I cook dinner and stare up at me with those big eyes, but you will always be my baby.
You will not always need me every day like you do now, but I will always be here when you do, because you will always be my baby.
I will miss how your tiny head smells after the bath when you sit in my lap for a book. But I will be in awe hearing you read a book on your own for the first time.
I will miss the silly way you crawl across our house so fast by pushing off with one leg. But I will cheer you on when you take your first steps, learn to run, and even drive on your own.
I will miss how you let me carry you around the house all day and wave at “us” every time we pass a mirror or window where you can see our reflection, and although we will not always walk around together, I will always have your back.
You will never again be the 7-pound, 15-ounce teeny-tiny bundle that arrived last January, and despite my best efforts to freeze time over the past 12 months, the time has come to launch into the next big adventure of raising four “kids.” Your needs, they are a changing, but you will always be my baby.