My sweet boy, Hank:
There is a lump in my throat today and tears just waiting to erupt at the slightest nudge from my heart — a heart that is so full as I think back on what life was like one year ago today. My heart swelled that day and enveloped you with the sweetest, purest kind of love. A mother's love. I became a mama that day, your Mama, and I felt for the first time what it was like to love someone so completely and openly that nothing and nobody could shake it.
Yep, now I'm in tears.
*sigh, gulp, smile*
Today I see a boy who is kind, and affectionate, and contemplative. You seem to listen with your eyes, your ears, and your whole self. When you love something your whole face lights up and you vibrate with excitement. Then you'll look back at me like, "Are you seeing this too?!" and I am reminded of how amazing and wonderful the world really is.
This month was a busy one for us. We made fun summer memories with your cousins Alex, Jake, and McKenzie. We've had lots of little adventures with family, like trips to the pool, the park, the zoo, the beach, the frozen yogurt shop, and the mall. And of course lots of naps sprinkled in there too.
We also started a baby music class on Wednesdays. At first you were a little shy being there, but it didn't take long for you to laugh and giggle and jump up and down with excitement. You love the sing-alongs and playing peek-a-boo with the silky scarves. Mommy loves that she can see your face when it's under the scarf and you think no one can see you. It just might be the cutest thing ever.
You are still doing the army crawl a lot, but will crawl on your hands and knees when you only have a short distance to go. You also pull yourself up on things all the time. You're still a little shaky on your legs, but it won't be long before you are standing and walking.
If I blink too long you are across the room and bolting toward whatever in the room is unsafe. Like scissors. Or the dog's icky tennis balls. Or anything else you aren't supposed to have. Lately you've been taking your toys over to the dog's water dish and throwing them in. Maybe you think you're taking them to the pool?! You also LOVE to play with Grandma and Opa's kitten, Allie. You know just how to use her toys to get her to play. And you often do this with a serious look on your face, like a professional Las Vegas cat wrangler.
You love to play with junk mail. We give you a pile of papers and you are content and excited for a good 20-30 minutes. You have also become quite good at entertaining yourself for longer periods of time. As long as we are close by, you are usually happy to just play with your toys and talk baby gibberish while we look on. Of course we still join you for play time, and read lots of books together. You still love the interactive books like lift-the-flaps and books with textures.
Mealtime is an adventure for you. You love most foods and have a healthy appetite. Yes, there are days when you hardly eat a bite. But we don't stress about it. We offer you a variety of foods and let you choose what you eat. You are even using a spoon now and — I have to say — you're pretty darn good at getting it in your mouth most of the time. We have given up on trying to spoon feed you ourselves because you would much rather do it on your own. This also means I am now mopping the floor nightly.
In two days you will eat your first cake, blow out your first candle (maybe), and hear dozens of people singing you Happy Birthday for the first time. I hope you don't get scared and start crying. But mostly I hope that you feel all of the love coming your way. Because you are very, very loved.
Happy Birthday, my star.