For Cole Marshall James,
One year ago today, we didn’t know life could be any better… and then we were blessed with you. Thank you for enriching our lives and making us laugh every day. Happy 1st Birthday!
Love you to the moon and back!
Mommy & Daddy
To my son on his first birthday:
I can’t believe how quickly the past year has flown by. It seems like only yesterday that I met you for the first time, held you in my arms against my chest and immediately fell in love with you. It has been a wonderful year of cuddles, kisses, giggles and snuggles in the middle of the night. I will always cherish those quiet moments just you and me, as you snuggled into me as I fed you and we rocked back and forth in your rocking chair as your beautiful, bright eyes stared up at me. Those moments were worth every sleepless night. I knew they wouldn’t last forever so there were many times that I would hold you even after you were sound asleep just because I could. I will treasure those memories always.
Over the past 12 months I have watched with wonder as you learned to hold your head up, smiled your first smile, reached for toys, discovered your toes, sat up all by yourself without toppling over, excitedly tried all kinds of new foods, learned to roll over, pulled up on your arms and dragged your body to get from Point A to Point B, learned to crawl, learned to wave and say “Hi!” as well as “Mama,” “Dada,” “Uh-oh” and more. I applauded and cheered as you learned to pull yourself up on your feet for the first time. I comforted you and cuddled you when you lost your balance and fell down. This past year has been so incredible and filled with so many milestones and special moments. I can’t believe you are one year old today. I also can’t wait to see what the next year and the years to come have in store for you.
At only one year old, we have already gotten to know you and learn the remarkable characteristics that make you, the one and only, you. You are such a special little boy and are loved more than you will ever know. Don’t ever be afraid to be you. Shine bright, little man. We can already see a lot of wonderful aspects of your personality and demeanour that will take you far in this life. I would like to offer you some Mommy to Son advice and hopes for you to read and reflect when you are old enough to understand and perhaps, think your Mommy doesn’t understand.
Right now, at one year old, you tend to get very angry and frustrated when things don’t go your way. Sometimes your sister steals a toy from you, sometimes you can’t reach what you want to reach and sometimes you have to go to bed when you want to play. You are not afraid to express how it makes you feel. I hope you are never afraid to express your feelings. While you won’t always clench your fists, grind your teeth and scream, I hope that you will always stand up for yourself, express your feelings and defend your beliefs. It is important and this world needs strong people who aren’t afraid to stand up for what is right.
No matter how old you are, it is okay to cry. It does not make you weak or soft. It makes you human. Whether it is a sniffle under your breath or a full-out cry with tears and wails, don’t be afraid or ashamed to cry. Sometimes things happen in life that make us sad. Crying is soothing and a great way to cleanse your soul.
Remember how good hugs and cuddles feel right now and how they make everything feel better? Don’t lose sight of that. You never outgrow that feeling. A hug can bring comfort and love that words can’t deliver during a hard time. Also, hugs are great to receive but they are even better to give. Don’t hesitate to offer hugs to those who need it or accept hugs from those who offer them to you.
It is so heartwarming to watch you stare up at the sky, feel the wind blow through your hair, curiously touch the grass, follow the sounds of the birds singing in the trees and watch the rain fall. The older you get, the more distracted you will become from the beauty and simplicity of the finer things in life. You will be distracted by friends, stress, school, technology, work and more. No matter how busy and how distracted you get, make time to stare up at the sky and watch the clouds. Stay up late and watch a thunderstorm. Pay attention to the wind as it blows through your hair and to the sun as it warms your face. These “little things” will keep you grounded and fuel your soul. Appreciate the small, simple pleasures that life has to offer.
Stretch your body every morning when you wake up just like you do now. When your beautiful eyes open, your arms stretch over your head and as you stretch your back, your legs and yawn. Keep doing this everyday before jumping out of bed to start your day. You won’t regret it.
Right now you love going out and seeing people. You smile brightly, wave and shout an enthusiastic “Hi!” to every person we pass. Don’t stop doing this. Just like now, sometimes people will say hi back to you and sometimes they won’t. The chance is worth taking as you never know when your smile might brighten someone’s day and when your “Hi!” might be delivered to a person who really needed to feel acknowledged.
While on the topic of your beautiful bright smile, it is worth noting that you also have the sweetest dimples and the most stunning baby blue eyes. Do not use these characteristics to manipulate others. Be charming but sincere. May your smile always be genuine and your eyes always be honest. Be sincere and mean what you say.
It’s okay to be afraid. Fear is not a sign of weakness. Everyone is afraid of something. Right now, you shake with fear when the elephant sits on the clock in your “Hickory Dickory Dock” video or when there is a thunderstorm outside. Someday you might be afraid of starting your first day at a new school or new job or what others think of you. While it is okay to be afraid, it is important to challenge yourself and conquer your fears. And when you do, know that just like when I held you in my arms and rocked you during the last thunderstorm, I will always be there to support you through your challenges and fears, no matter what they might be.
Celebrate the small victories in life. The smallest accomplishments and special moments matter. Right now we clap and cheer when you got a puzzle piece to fit in the correct spot, when you successfully stacked one block on top of another, when you catch a ball as it rolls across the floor towards you and when you stand up on your feet and let go. Never stop clapping or cheering. No matter how big or small, your accomplishments and successes are worth celebrating. The little victories are what allow the big things to happen. Rejoice, be happy and be proud of your successes no matter how big or how small.
No matter how old you get, laughter is key. There will come a day when you won’t find peek-a-boo as funny as you do right now and probably won’t want to be tickled. Regardless of what makes you laugh, laugh every single day. Laugh at yourself, laugh with those around you and have fun. We only get one life! Make it a fun one!
I know how frustrated you get when you find yourself on the side of the baby gate you don’t want to be on. I know how much you hate when I tell you not to touch the electrical outlets or the lamp or my laptop cord or touch the toilet. While I am only trying to keep you safe and out of harm’s way, I am also trying to teach you that there will always be rules to follow and laws to obey. Some will be written and some will be unwritten. You must always respect other people and boundaries. No matter how old you get, there will always be rules to be respected and lines that shouldn’t be crossed.
Just like now when we have to be quiet at bedtime and can be loud and play during the day, there is a time and a place for everything. These is a time to be messy and a time to stay clean. There is a time to be loud and a time to speak softly. There is a time for everything and I will always have time for you, no matter what.
Be daring. Push personal limits. Set new goals and work hard to achieve them. Right now, you are courageously standing up and letting go, taking steps with a walking toy and fearlessly pushing yourself forward. Continue to push yourself to try new things. Be cautious. Always wear your seatbelt whether it’s on your baby swing or in the driver’s seat of your first car. Be safe and be adventurous. You will only regret the things you didn’t try.
Learn to share. I know it seems like an awful concept now when it means sharing Mommy’s lap, sharing your toys, sharing a snack and sharing attention. Sharing can be wonderful. Later in life you will realize how amazing it is to share a meal, share an experience, share your feelings, share the workload, share a dessert and share a bottle of wine with someone you love. Sharing is important.
Just like now, it is just as important to be able to play alone and entertain yourself as it is to be able to play with others. Later in life, you will be grateful for the ability to work independently as well as part of a team.
Eat well and be adventurous with food. Try new things, new cuisines, foods you have never eaten before. Food nourishes your body, keeps you healthy and we eat it at least three times a day so we might as well enjoy it. I’m sure (and hope) you won’t always have to take your shirt off to eat spaghetti and meatballs but I hope that your enthusiasm for food only grows bigger.
While your family is your whole world now, you will soon meet new friends and get involved in different social circles. Never forget that your family is extremely important. Cherish moments spent with family. Your family is who will be there for you unconditionally through the good, the bad and everything in between. Value your family just like we value you.
Bathtime is awesome. No matter how old you get, a warm bubble bath, good book and cuddle with someone you love will always be a great way to wind down and end a long, exhausting day. Someday you might give up the bath toys for a hot cup of tea or glass of wine and the Dr. Suess for something a little heavier but regardless, be sure to treat yourself to a long luxurious soak, a stimulating read and a cuddle.
Dream big and never stop dreaming. The sky is the limit. I can’t wait to see the man you will become and where life will take you. I just hope that you don’t grow up too fast and that life doesn’t take you too far away from home.
My handsome, funny, loving, intelligent son: I love you more than you will ever know. I will hold your hand until you let go. I will kiss you good morning and goodnight every day until you tell me to stop. I will tell you that I love you every chance I get, every single day even if you tell me to stop. I will always love you and will always take your hand when it needs holding and hug and kiss you when you need that too. I will always be there for you whenever you need me. You are my little man. You are my beautiful boy. You are my son. Happy 1st Birthday Sweet Boy! May all of your birthday wishes come true! xoxo