Sweet child of mine,

Happy 1st birthday! What a year it’s been. As the day has inched closer and closer, I’ve found myself going through our first photos of you and our first photos as a family of three and I am overwhelmed with emotion.

I had a perfect pregnancy. You were easy on me, inspired me to take better care of myself than I ever have, and traveled on many jobs to many states with me. Your birth story, which I shared here, is a constant reminder to me of my own strength, welcoming you into this world less than 7 hours after arriving at the hospital, drug free.

You have softened people. Including your grandfathers who I physically see melt around you. You have taught your own dad to slow down and be more present in the moment. He lives for your hugs, kisses, laughs and cuddles. He is so proud of you. You have made me so aware of how I want to raise you. To be thoughtful, kind, helpful, and most importantly respectful of yourself, females, the earth and animals. Fight for the good and for what’s right, always. You have brought so many smiles amidst challenging times with family and hope as we watch our Mimi fight Alzheimers.

From early on, you showed a sensitive side often staring out a window at trees blowing in the breeze (often waving back) and loving every animal you ever met-not excluding unusual ones like hedgehogs and iguanas. You are amazed by leaves, blades of grass, and water droplets. Tiny things that make me stop and appreciate their beauty.

You wave to EVERYONE and bring smiles to even the busiest and grumpiest people. I secretly tell you to wave at the people who I think could use a friendly baby wave just to see their reaction and hope that it can crack a smile on their face. It always does.

You have no interest in the television which makes me so happy and you love books, something you definitely inherited from me, which I inherited from your Grandma Lucy.

You are a people person, always observing older kids as they play, always smiling even from a distance. This makes me think you will be world traveler, taking in new sights and culture.

I promise to read this post every year on your birthday so that I continue to encourage these wonderful qualities that make you uniquely you. You will be a great man one day but for now and for forever, you will always be my baby.

Photo by Alysha Rainwaters