It’s been a very busy year, and quite honestly I just can’t believe that it’s been 1 full year.
It was one year ago that you were in my belly, and I was terrified of losing you. It was one year ago that I made an incredibly hard choice to induce early and get you out safely.
It was one year ago that you entered this world and completed our family.
And it was one year ago that you spent one agonizing week in the NICU, instead of home in our arms. One week of daddy and I going back and forth to take care of you and also be home to take care of Caroline- to hold you as much as possible.
I haven’t written much to you. I wrote you one letter a few months after you were born. My heart just couldn’t keep the words in. I couldn’t imagine life without you, yet I knew that had your sister lived you wouldn’t have been conceived.
I was worried that when you were born I’d have this rush of emotions missing April and being sad instead of happy. It didn’t happen in the way I expected. My happiness took over and I took in every moment with you.
My sadness often comes in the good moments, and your first birthday didn’t disappoint.
On your birthday, I had several realizations to face.
You are our last baby. Every first for you, is our last. You are the last baby to give us sweet baby kisses. You are the last baby to give us snuggles. You are the last baby we get to go through each milestone with. You are the last.
It’s a chapter that I’m sad to close. Before you I wouldn’t have ever wanted more than 2 living children. Now, I see you and how wonderful you are, and I could honestly see having more children. I know I’m biased, but your daddy and I make some amazing babies.
April didn’t get to turn 1. Every milestone that you and Caroline get to achieve, April doesn’t get to. And so on every birthday, and holiday, and all the firsts and lasts, I think of her. I think of April and how she didn’t get to give kisses. She didn’t get to walk and talk. She didn’t get to turn 1.
I blinked and this year was over. I love each new milestone. I couldn’t wait for you to sit, then crawl, and now walk. I love it because with each new milestone I see more and more of your personality shine through. But this time it just went too fast.
Yesterday I looked at you and you looked so grown up. You are a toddler now. You look just like your daddy, and you are turning into a little boy now before my eyes.
Grief has taught me to take in the moments. My business has taken a back seat this year as I mostly focused on you and our family. And I was ok with that. Grief has taught me to make the most time for the things that matter the most. And that’s always and forever our family first.
Ironically, grief also takes up a lot of my time and my thoughts. But then again, grief is love. My grief is my love for April, and she deserves time too. And so I’ve learned to let it happen when it needs to.
In the process of all of that, this year went fast. And so I sit here wondering, “Where did my baby go?”
And I also sit here wondering about the man you’ll become.
Raising a girl can be daunting- with the social struggles I know we’ll run into, making sure she’s strong and independent and never needing others to take care of her, etc.
Raising a boy is focused on so many different things. I don’t worry as much about the social struggles, or independence. I feel an immense responsibility to raise a man that is kind and respectful towards women, hardworking and focused on family.
And then I look at your daddy. He’s the perfect man. He’s the perfect role model for you. And so I have NO worries. I know that you will be just as amazing and kind and respectful as he. And then I laugh, because my own insecurities have caused me to worry more about raising a daughter.
Being a parent I’ve learned, is constantly looking in the mirror and self assessing.
William, you are so sweet. You give SO many kisses to us. You make this sweet “ahh” sound when you give your kisses. You love each and every one of us so much, and you show it perfectly.
Every morning when I get you up, the first thing you do is point to your door and say “uh.” You want desperately to tell me something. I know just what it is. I open your door and ask you what you want. You point again- to Caroline’s room.
I take you to Caroline’s room and lay you in her bed. You guys have morning snuggles together every day. You both just love it. You kiss her and snuggle with her. I love how much you love her.
You are cautious. If someone new holds you, you immediately cry. It takes you a bit to warm up to others. With family you eventually realize that you can relax.
When you fall, even gently, or just to a seated position, it’s the worst thing to happen. You cry hard big tears.
Then you slam your fingers into a door and don’t shed a tear. You are strong and cautious all at the same time.
You don’t trust your walking legs yet. If I let go of one hand you sit immediately. You have the balance, though. You could do it if you trusted those legs of yours. For now you crawl, though, and love using your walker or holding our hands.
You are starting to try new sounds. Just yesterday you said “ch” for cheese.
You put EVERYTHING in your mouth. This year has felt like I’m just trying to keep you alive.
You’ve had a bandaid in your mouth that I didn’t even know about- found it in your poop. You’ve found a way to get the rubber stopper off of a door stop and into your mouth, causing me to have to superglue all of them in the house.
You’ve unscrewed the knob on our nightstand drawers, and I found that in your mouth as well. You find the tiniest of items to hide in that cheek of yours. I find it, luckily. You scare me, though. Maybe it’s because I know how short life can be and how unfair. Maybe it’s just because you put EVERYTHING in that mouth of yours and I’m truly terrified.
Either way, I need you to stop now, OK? You are 1. Time to not make mama worry so much!
You are flexible. You’ve been on the go and stuck with your schedule revolving around Caroline’s. You always go with the flow and make it work.
You are just starting to protest two naps, and I’m not quite sure what to do, since your sister goes to school right when you need to nap. I’d have to interrupt you for drop off and pick up times. We’ll figure it out, but you are starting to have your sleep impacted as a result, so we need to do something soon!
You’ve started doing room time- 15 minutes in your room by yourself. You do great with it.
You are such a mama’s boy. I love it. If I walk into the room or come near you, you want me. You push whoever is holding you away and reach for mama. It makes my heart melt.
I have a really hard time letting you cry, even if I know it’s the best thing for you in that moment. I’ve even been guilty a couple of times of holding you until you fall asleep. But it was the best moment.
We have a new game. I get on the floor on my hand and knees and look at you. You grin the BIGGEST grin with little devilish eyes. I come at you and gently bonk my head into yours. You laugh so hard.
You then crawl away, sit and look for more. Sometimes you come after me. We put our heads together and I wrestle you down to the ground. You laugh so hard. It’s your favorite thing to do right now.
You know what “No” means now. But you totally ignore it sometimes. You just look at us like “Whatcha gonna do about it!?” It is cute, but also pretty annoying LOL! You like playing with the dog food and water. You put the dog food in your mouth, and it’s just the right size to choke on.
You’ve just started listening when I say no to the stairs. You just move the baby gate out of the way, so we removed it completely. So saying “no” and moving you it is for awhile.
You are our climber. You climb up us, on us, on the dog food, etc. You love climbing. I think you are going to be my trouble-maker.
You love clapping, banging your hands on things, banging toys together, bonking your head on things, splashing water, eating, and making any and all funny noises.
I’m excited to see where this next year takes you. The next year is a big one. You are going to start walking, then running. You are going to start talking. I can’t wait. I just love the milestones, even if they do come too fast.
My love for you is and will always be a special love. There’s something about the last baby. There’s something about you being a rainbow baby and being born after your sister died. There’s something acute and intense about my love for you.
I love you so much. Kisses for a lifetime.