My sweet baby turns one today. ONE! And all I keep thinking of is where did the time go? I can’t remember our lives before this little guy and yet I feel like he just got here.
My little fighter. The baby who lived in a 10’x10′ NICU room for the first few weeks of his life, fighting to breathe. My little baby, who was hooked up to so many tubes and monitors and was so swollen that we couldn’t truly see his face well enough to see how handsome he was for over a week. My little baby, who didn’t know what it felt like to be cuddled and loved upon and snuggled for the first few days of his life because he was so fragile and so sick that no one was able to hold him. The same baby who has kept me up consistently for the past year over night; my midnight (and 2am, 5am and 6:30am) buddy. Besides his affliction for overnight parties, he is my perfect baby; and quite possibly my last baby.
I always say that we were blessed with two children on completely opposite ends of the spectrum. Ben entered this world with a loud battle cry letting us know he had arrived. He scored a perfect 10 on his Apgar test and within moments of being born, he turned his head towards my husband, who came over to greet him on the scale as to say:
“What’s up, Dad? I recognize your voice, I know you. Pop the champagne: I’m heeeeerree!”
Jack had a rougher start and there was little celebratory fanfare when he entered the world, just a lot more fanatical running around by the doctors and nurses. Ben likes to be the center of attention. He will boss you, your dog, and your mom around and make sure you know that he is running the show. He has recently picked up the award for bossiest back seat driver at the ripe age of two years old. “Go THIS way, mommy!” He’s kept that in your face attitude since the day he was born, and I’m scared to say that he’s a spitting image of me in that respect. For better or worse, when it comes to Ben, I birthed a high energy, bossy, loud-mouthed mini-me.
Jack has been a breath of fresh air. I had been preparing myself for another loveable little hellion and was pleasantly surprised that he was content to sit back and just take it all in. He doesn’t need, or appear to want to be the center of attention. As his personality has emerged over the past year, he has proven to be much more like my husband; he’s definitely fiesty, but thoughtful and just genuinely happy to be a part of the action instead of being the one creating the scene. I’m sure every parent finds it as fascinating as I do to look at their children and see parts of them emerge. Jack is simply a pure delight. I can honestly say he is a perfect baby.
But, as of today, he is a baby no more. He just started walking and it’s hilarious to see him start to challenge his big brother during playtime. And as much as I am happy to see him grow into this beautiful little boy, I can’t help but be sad. Did I just complete the last “first year of childhood” that I’ll ever experience? While our family will never be 100% sure that we won’t have another child, we aren’t necessarily planning another one. As much as I look forward to the future, I can’t help but be sad that our “baby” days are over. Every day, these boys do something new and take one more step towards growing up. I complain about being so exhausted from being needed and wanted all day long and yet there’s this nagging part of me that is screaming Stop! Enjoy this! It will last for a little while longer but these boys aren’t going to want to be with me forever.
I guess this is the eternal internal battle that every parent fights every day: looking towards the future while desperately holding on to the past and present. It’s bitter sweet to celebrate these birthdays because as hard as being a parent is, you only seem to remember the good times and you don’t want things to change.
I forget that Jack has probably slept through the night three times in the entire past year. I forget that Ben was so colicky that I considered checking myself into a mental institution from listening to him cry.
I remember the giggle Jack has when I give him raspberries all over his belly. I remember the look of amazement on Ben’s face the first time we took a train ride together. I remember the first time I saw both of them take their first steps. I remember that as tired and cranky as they make me on a daily basis, that there isn’t anything in the world I would change.
I remember that I am the luckiest person in the world to be called their mommy and I count my blessings every night before I go to bed for the beautiful family that I have… I just wish things would slow down.
Happy Birthday to my dear, sweet Jack. Please don’t grow up too fast. Always remember that I love you and I am so proud of the little boy you are becoming. You and your brother are my greatest accomplishments in this life and I’m one lucky woman to be your mama.