A Letter To My One Year Old

I wish I could tell you to slow down. To pause for a moment whilst I catch my breath (and catch up). But your endless energy, knowing grin and curiosity wouldn’t let you even if time would.

So here we are, basking in the afterglow of what was your first birthday this time last week. How has it already been a week since your birthday? How has it already been a year? The past 365 days have been an absolute whirlwind, and they have been the best I have ever known. In that time you’ve morphed from a helpless yet content baby into an olive eating, book loving, shrieking and pointing toddler- seemingly in the blink of an eye.

I remember holding  you for the first time, surprised by how small and how light you were in my arms. I remember not being able to sleep the night you were born as you lay next to me, for the sheer adrenaline coursing through my tired body. I was excited but most of all I was completely and utterly in love.

And so with those memories so clearly etched, despite sometimes feeling like a dream, I can’t quite believe that we are now here. Encouraging you to take your first steps. Deciphering yells whilst eagerly awaiting the day you start to say your first real words.

I had no idea whether Motherhood would suit me. I was never maternal but I’d like to think of myself as caring and loving, and as it turns out that’s all that really matters. Still, I was nervous. Imagine starting a new job without any kind of training! But I had nothing to fear. Motherhood has unequivocally been the making of me and that’s all down to you.

Thank you for making the last year as stress free as possible. Even in the womb you were chilled (I will always remember the sonographer asking me to shake my belly to try to get you to move) and along with your sweet nature, you’ve eased me into motherhood without ever making me feel overwhelmed. Not everyone gets to be so lucky.

That’s not to say I didn’t use Google every time you had a temperature or refluxed after a feed, but there’s a lot to be said for trusting your own instinct even when your instinct as a first time parent is practically non-existent at the start.

I look at you now- strong-willed, determined with an unapologetic mischievousness – and I can’t quite believe you are the same person whose head I was worried I wasn’t supporting properly, or who spent his nights sleeping in a baby box. Now you wake me up in the mornings by crazily crawling around in your cot as if to say “Come on Mama, it’s a new day!”

But it’s bittersweet. I already feel you becoming more independent and self-assured, quick to get cross if either of us tries to help you  because you’re adamant to learn on your own. And even though you are still very much a boob man, I know there probably isn’t long left on our breastfeeding journey (I’m letting you decide when you’re done) not to mention the preparations we’re making to move your cot into your own room in time for the summer.

No one told me that a birthday could be so emotional. But also full of promise. What wonderful, exciting adventures lay ahead of you…

Every day you surprise me with something new. Like when you blew raspberries against Papa Bear’s shoulder (for a solid 5 minutes) or when you problem solve a new toy super quick. Not to mention how impressive your dexterity is. And with that comes an overwhelming pride and joy in watching you grow.

Of course it’s not only you that’s grown in the past year. I no longer fumble with nappies and become flustered when undressing you at the Doctor’s. I’m a pro at navigating public transport with a pram and somehow we’ve created our own language in which I know from a look, cry or shout what it is you want (a good 90% of the time anyway).

I had always thought of myself as patient and empathetic but these are qualities you’ve only heightened. I no longer have time for negativity or anger or to let tiredness dominate the day. And when I see it written down like that, I’m kind of blown away by how much you really have changed my life.

In you I see the best we can be. And I see an already kind, bright and beautiful baby whose future hangs above us like the night sky. What stars you’ll map and align we’ll have to  wait and see, but oh how they’ll be lots and oh how they’ll shine brighter than we could ever have imagined!

And that fills me with more excitement for the future than sadness for the year that has now been and gone.

To you our loving, ever-smiling, head-bopping, beautiful son. How lucky we are.

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A Letter To Our (Unborn) Little One

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Little One,

There is so much we hope for you and yet so much we’re yet to learn about you. Will you inherit my no-nonsense attitude or Papa Bear’s stubborn streak? His unwavering selflessness or my fierce loyalty ? Will you adore fruit as much as I do or will you unapologetically hassle me for biscuits (like Papa Bear does!). Maybe you’ll have traits and quirks which will leave us both in awe, wondering “Where does he/she get it from?!”

There is so much left to chance. Like how tall you will be, what colour eyes you will have and if you’ll end up with a smattering of freckles underneath those eyes. Ok, so it’s not all down to chance, but it still feels like a roll of the dice when it comes to which of our genetics will help to shape you.

There is so much we want to teach you. Not just the fun things like how to whistle, swim or ride a bike, but how to grow up valuing the people (and world) around you over the pursuit of money and materialism. How to have the courage and bravery to live this life being true to yourself, and to always be kind to others, even when they haven’t been kind to you.How to be a true gentleman, compassionate, loving and respectful to women. Or how to be a strong woman, unafraid of the glass ceiling or glossy magazines which will try to undermine your self-esteem.

There is so much you will teach us, without even trying. Like how to let go of our fears and worries and simply love you with abandon. Trusting our instincts as parents, no matter how inept we may feel at times. How to lean on one another, instead of pushing each other away, when times get tough or tiring.

There is a story yet untold but in the past nine months alone, you have been showered with so much light and love from friends and family both near and far, that I know your story will be a great one. By having you, we have been reminded how lucky we are to have such beautiful people in our lives, and now they are in yours.

From the moment we planned to have you, from that first kick felt inside my womb, from the first time we heard your heartbeat, we fell head over heels for you and that unwavering love will never change.

There is so much we dream for you but more than anything we dream for you to be happy, whatever you decide to do and whoever you decide to be in this life.

 

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