To my very favorite one year old,
Liam, I can hardly believe that a year has gone by in the blink of an eye. Your dad and I could not be more in love with each other and with you since that early August morning. You came at the end of a very long weekend, and the second I held you on my chest nothing else mattered. Since that day, you have brought us SO MUCH joy and laughter and tears and worry and frustration and pride and heart-melting goodness.
There's a saying that the days are long, but the years are fast -- I definitely believe that. There have been days that I couldn't wait for your dad to walk through the door because I needed a BREAK. No lie. Awful days where you cried all day and nothing I did made it any better. Times where you spit out anything I tried to feed you and I feared you would starve. I can see how mothers can worry themselves to death!
But there have been many more days that you and I played and played and read and snuggled and giggled and surprised each other in awesome ways. One day recently we were in Georgia and you were playing with your cousin at your grandparents' house . . . my back was hurting so I laid down on the floor -- you saw me, crawled over to me and kissed me right on the mouth, then turned and crawled back to Bailey to play. Tears welled up in my eyes, out of the pure, unconditional love I felt from you and for you. Lately I love to just pull you into our bed after a nap because you roll around and laugh and play peek-a-boo with the covers, and we stay like that for a long time. I. Love. It. There are so many days that I think, "I AM SO LUCKY. GOD HAS BLESSED ME." I always knew I wanted to be a mom, but this is exceeding my expectations.
Everyone has told me that each stage is better than the last. While there are some things I definitely miss (like putting you in one place for five seconds while I go to the bathroom and you actually being in the same place when I return), it's so true. YOU ARE SO MUCH FUN. Your expressions kill me -- like, sometimes bring tears to my eyes because I can't stop laughing and can't be mad at something you've done because you look so darn cute. Lately when you do something you know you're not supposed to, you shake your head, say "nooo" and then kiss me or put your head in my lap, as if to say, "I'm sorry, Mama, I know I shouldn't do that, but I REALLY want to." And I pretty much melt (but I still don't let you do it, so don't get any ideas!).
While you are constantly cracking us up on a daily basis, we have to work a little harder for you . . . you are not one to laugh at anything and everything, but are more discerned in your taste of what you find funny. You often make this face where you purse your lips together when you're trying not to smile, "because, duh, Mom, you are not that funny." You have a serious side to you, and a seriously sweet side. You love to snuggle, kiss, hold hands, and no one makes you feel better like your Mom (this year). Things could quite possibly change in the future, so I'll take what I can get.
Right now you still look like your dad, though some of my family sees me in you, too. But to me, you look like YOU. I will sometimes see your dad when you make a certain face or are concentrating on something, but more often than not you just look like LIAM to me. You haven't changed much since those early days of infancy, besides growing some hair, and those precious blue eyes I prayed for are still as beautiful as the day you were born. You are finally growing into your monstrous hands and feet, and I have a feeling you will start to thin out now that you are a WALKING MACHINE.
I know there are many people who wish they could be with you right now and wish they were seeing you as much as we are. And truth be told, you will never remember any of this experience and will grow up with your grandparents and cousins as if we've always lived close to them, never knowing the pain of missing them like they miss you. But the fact that this expat experience allows me to be with you on a daily basis and explore the world a little more at the same time -- there's a lot to be said for that. I LOVE that I am watching you grow up and learn new things and meet new friends . . . I wouldn't trade this for anything.
So much has changed in one year, and I can only imagine the changes to come. But the one constant is how much your dad and I love you. No matter what. Through the good, the bad, and the ugly, we are here forever. We both want what is best for you, and while sometimes you may not agree, our intentions are good, I promise. I've made many mistakes in the last year and I have no doubt I will make many more before you read these emails. But I promise I am trying my best and doing what I think is right at each moment. And that is all I ask of you too.
When you are older (and become a MAN -- GASP!), I hope you have the absolute pleasure of having a child so you can catch a glimpse of all I am feeling right now -- you won't have carried and birthed your baby, but you may still have an inkling ;) Thank you for showing me my potential and making me want to be a better person, because you deserve it. You are one helluva kid and I pray that your next years go by much more s l o w l y than this last one -- I don't think I'll get my wish (since it's your birthday and all), but a mother can dream.
There are a million other things I want to tell you, but for now I will just say this: Happy 1st Birthday, Liam. YOU are a GIFT to US.
Love you yesterday, today, and tomorrow,