The things that will never make it in the baby books and other musings from a stay at home mom

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Happy birthday, Evan

Dear Evan,

A year ago today, I saw two things for the first time. One of those things was you, just seconds old and gazing at me with the most placid expression I'd ever seen on a baby. And the other thing was your Daddy's eyes, welling up with tears for the first time that I can remember in the 10 years I've known him.

It's entirely possible that he cried when Julia was born, too. I was so overwhelmed by her birth that I don't even remember who told me that she was a girl, let alone what the expression on your father's face was. But on the day you were born, I knew enough to watch and listen and savor every memory. And I know I'll never forget your Daddy's tears, or his words to me as we welcomed you into our family -- "I forgot how miraculous it all is."

I had worried before you were born, as I imagine all second time mothers do, that I had already seen it all, that the magic and mystery that make parenting so all-encompassing the first time around wouldn't be there this time, that it would all just be old hat to us. I'm delighted to report that I could not have been more wrong. From your first laugh (at 2 months, in the midst of bronchiolitis, no less) to your first bite of solid food (at 5 1/2 months, when I knew you were ready because you started watching intently as Julia ate and giggling hysterically every time she put a bite in her mouth), every single one of your milestones has felt just as miraculous to me as if I'd never seen anything like it before. I've celebrated every inch you've moved, every tooth you've sprouted, every poop you've created (OK, maybe not so much the poops) with boundless joy, not because I didn't know those things were coming, but because they came from you.

You are the very best of me and the very best of your father, all in one package that is uniquely you. I consider it one of life's greatest miracles that the exact same thing could be said about your sister, and yet the two of you are absolutely nothing alike. This time, the gene pool mixed us up about the happiest baby I've ever seen, with a devilish grin, a heartmelting smile and a wicked sense of humor. You charm the pants off everyone from the old men in the grocery store (old ladies are such easy prey, they're not even worth mentioning) to the 3 year olds who come to our house to play with Julia but end up playing with you instead because you're just so much fun. You entertain yourself, you entertain the people around you and you make life a little more fun when you're in the room. You're damn cute, too, by the way, but I'm not sure I'm supposed to say that since I'm your mother. I think I'm supposed to just smile and look a little surprised and a little grateful when people tell me that. They do, all the time, but I still haven't perfected the response, I'm afraid. I'm so used to explaining away your sister's constant scowl that I have no idea how to handle praise for your abounding charm.

I have a little confession to make, though I don't imagine it will come as much of a surprise given the last paragraph. I've got quite a crush on you right now. When you smile at me, or wrap your arms tightly around me and plant a big wet kiss on my cheek, or nuzzle into my shoulder with a sigh, or giggle as you play with your toys, or grin as you tease your sister, or shovel astounding amounts of food into your mouth and then applaud when you're done with your meal, or really, do just about anything at all, I think my heart is going to explode with how much love I have for you. Yep, I'm 100% infatuated with you at the moment. And if you stay as cute and as funny and as good natured as you are right now, I have the feeling I'm the first of many women to feel that way about you in your lifetime. (Just remember, you heard it from me first, kid.)

I've been a weepy fool as your first birthday approached, thinking about how fast the year has gone and mourning the loss of your babyhood. Every time I nurse you now, I struggle to arrange us so that we both fit on the glider and my eyes fill with tears as I envision that little swaddled body I supported so easily with just one arm. Yesterday, I turned around and saw you standing at the little blue table in the kitchen playing with Julia's tea set (it's your favorite toy right now, but the way you use it -- tossing the pieces on the tile floor one by one to hear the sound they make -- is a decidedly masculine take on such a feminine plaything) and I almost did a double take at the little boy standing there. You looked so self assured and content and absorbed in your game -- not just physically, but mentally a child rather than a baby, that I had to blink away tears for a moment. I watched you for a second, picturing the little baby you were a year ago and trying to find a bit of that infant in the boy you've become. The transformation has been, as your father said last year at this time, miraculous. I knew that it would be, of course. I just kind of forgot how great it would feel to see it happen before my eyes and to feel, all over again, consumed by the joy and the awe of my baby's first year.

Happy first birthday, Evan. Thank you for a year that I hope I'll never forget.



At 1:03 PM, Blogger Kristy said...

Awww. Happy Birthday, Evan. Have a great day and smush some cake in your ear.


At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SOB! As I am bawling! Happy Birthday little boy!! That post really made me cry. You are so eloquent Rebecca I feel like copying it and using it myself LOL!

I have never experienced a daughter but as mom of (almost) 4 boys you have it down pat. You really *fall in love* with your sons.

~Reggie head over heels with all the boys in her life.


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