open letter to my son on his first birthday.

Dear Dax,

Today at 1:34 AM you turned one. You have been alive, outside of my womb, for one whole year now. (But you were alive and inside my womb for 38-ish weeks prior to that!)

Do you remember what life looked like a year ago? Well, yesterday you forgot that you like grapes even though the day before you couldn’t shovel them into your mouth fast enough, so if your memory is a little fuzzy, that’s okay. That’s why I’m here. Because I remember it all.

A year ago, we were cuddling in my recovery room, number 309, and everything was white and sterile and loud, but quiet at the same time. There were all these machines and people buzzing about us, even the few times when you or I were asleep, and time seemed to creep by and zoom past as we got to know each other.

Though you were a big, 8-pound-4-ounce ball of heavenly chub, in my arms you felt fragile and tiny. The most precious thing I’ve ever seen. And I couldn’t believe that you were mine.

Because I loved you so much, I didn’t know how to hold you. You can tell because in the pictures that were taken right after you were born, I was holding you in a way that I never held you again. Once I got to know you, every inch of you, I learned the way you love to snuggle. But, at first, I was just so scared and so new at being your mommy and I didn’t know if I was doing it right. Thank you for giving me the chance to learn.

daxbday1

That first night in the hospital was an exhausting one for me, and probably you, too. While your daddy slept, you and I (after sixteen hours of labor) stayed up together learning how to nurse. When your daddy woke up in the morning, I got to tell him about how much you loved to nurse and how (much to the nurses’ dismay) you and I both preferred for you to sleep on my chest as opposed to in the bassinet. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons I was so tired that night was because every time a nurse came in I’d pop awake and pretend I wasn’t sleeping — just cuddling you while VERY STILL — because I didn’t want her to tell me to put you back down.

daxsleep

daxsleep2

Adjusting to life with you at home definitely took some time. It was several weeks before you learned how to sleep at night and, even still, you would only sleep in bed with your daddy and me. I didn’t mind, though.

As a newborn, all you really did was sleep and eat. And cry. A lot. We found out early that you had a bit of colic, and your tummy was very sensitive. Because I breastfed you, I had to eat a very bland diet in order to keep your tummy happy. As much as I loved cheese and ice cream, I did it gladly, because I love you more.

Though you smiled in your sleep when you were only three days old, it took you a while to social smile. On Labor Day, you actually FOR REAL smiled at me for the first time and do you know what? I instantly burst into tears.  And then my crying made you cry. I’m sorry about that. But after six weeks of colic, that fleeting grin was enough to send me over the edge of joy.

daxsmile

And then, there was a period there — between four and nine months — where I felt like I couldn’t keep up with you. It was almost as if you started each new day by hitting another milestone, something that made my heart simultaneously swell with pride but break with longing. As proud as I am to watch you grow, it also hurts a little, because every centimeter you grow pulls you that much farther away from being a baby. Being my baby.

At 6 months, you got your first tooth, sat up on your own, and tried solid food for the first time. Your first taste was carrots and you absolutely loved them! However, now, you’re a bit more picky when it comes to carrots. Though you do like them, you seem to hold out for more tasty options like sweet potatoes. (At the time of writing, sweet potatoes are your favorite food, followed closely by apples, bananas, pasta, pickles, yogurt, and — of course — mama’s milk.)

daxpickle

At 7 months, you said your first word. It was “dada” which makes sense. You love your daddy so much — he can make you giggle like no one else on earth. And he loves you too. So very much. Your second word was “nana” and your third — finally! — was “mama”.

At nine months, you learned how to crawl and pull up. And you have been unstoppable ever since. You can zoom across our house in seconds flat and get into everything on your way. You are funny, though, because you like to crawl a little bit, then stop and turn around to make sure I’m still there watching you.

daxpeek

You are cautious like that. Though you are capable of going far and doing much, you approach each new situation with trepidation and analysis, very carefully examining each and every aspect of the new. This is the case when I take you to a new friend’s house, or introduce you to something weird like grass and flowers. Because you trust me you don’t cry. But I can see in your eyes that you are wary and skeptical. I admire this about you, and I believe this will come in handy when you are a teenager. (Lord, help me.)

daxflower

You are also very particular. You like the things you like and you want things to stay the way they are. This is why, despite taking two two-hour naps a day and sleeping all night in your crib, you refuse to sleep in the church nursery or in your Pack n’ Play at a friend’s house. If things aren’t just right in your world, you notice. I think that — just like your blue eyes — you get this from me. It is a blessing and a curse and I’ll do my best to try and help you navigate this. If you find yourself an advocate for social justice with a burning desire for people to DO RIGHT and TREAT OTHERS RIGHT, know that this is where it stems from. But, if you don’t end up an advocate for anything else than a consistent bedtime routine, that’s okay, too.

daxsleep3

I know a lot has changed in the past year, but I am so very grateful for the one thing that hasn’t. To this day, just like it was when we were in the hospital that first night, your favorite place to sleep is still my chest. You fell asleep there this morning as a matter of fact, and every time you do, I thank God for one more snuggle. If the way this year has flown by is any indication of how fast the rest of life is going to fly, I hold few things closer to my heart than these moments.

daxsnuggle

Dax, a year ago, you turned my whole world upside down. You took what I knew about life and love and you shook it all up and rebuilt it into something beautiful, something I don’t fully understand.

daxlaugh

Thank you for letting me be your mommy that day a year ago, and thank you for continuing to let me be your mommy today.

I love you more than words could ever say. Happy first birthday, booger.

Love always,

Mommy

daxbday

162 thoughts on “open letter to my son on his first birthday.

  1. *Wiping away a tear*
    That letter was absolutely beautiful. It is a letter all moms can relate to; one I could have written for you. I love you, Dan and our birthday boy Dax more than life itself. Happy Birthday Precious Dax. I will see you tomorrow, Lord willing.
    P.S. I love his shirt <3
    ~mom

  2. There is no more rewarding job on the planet and you are fabulous at being a mom!!! Dax will cherish this letter to him for the rest of his life!

  3. Awh How touching and beautiful this letter is ! A true deep affection note, Your son will love you more when he will be able to read this ! He is so cute by the way he has the shine in his eyes….I wish you both all the very best and Love xx

  4. Lindsay, first of all, what a beautiful letter.
    I relate completely, since my son turned one exactly a month before yours it would seem, on the 19th of June!
    (In fact I blogged about the life lessons I have learnt from my first year with my son!)
    The way you have chronicled the special moments of the first year mirrors so many of the sentiments and precious memories I have as well, making this read a very special one for me :)
    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  5. oh my god, I loved every single word of that. From the “you might not remember you loved grapes yesterday” to the part that he got his picky nature and blue eyes from you. It made me smile, and cry and I hope that the bond between you is everlasting.
    Cheers to a great mom. Stay awesome!! ;-)

    • you know… once i posted it i thought to myself, “dang, you really set the bar high for subsequent birthdays AS WELL AS dax’s future siblings (God willing)” but, because i’m a writer and, therefore, can’t NOT write, i imagine i’ll do something. :)

  6. It is so good to see that you’re breast feeding! Just like a Mom ; first thing I noted was that. Far too many these days; get caught UP in convenience; and forget that breast milk is the BEST start for babies..And then they wonder, amazingly so, why children have so many allergies and whatnot…Many congrats to both of you on your year old bundle of joy..Enjoy the years; for they fly! And take tons and tons of pictures! When he is all grown up; he’ll enjoy seeing the pics also..They grow up so very fast…These days its tough keeping them SAFE; but it can be done..Just takes more work than backinthedays…Welcome to parenthood! It only gets better & better from here..

      • you are so right! all moms are the best moms! i don’t really care how you feed your baby, so long as you do it PERIOD. :) thanks for reading!!

    • thank you for your support! we decided that we would try to breastfeed & hope for the best. luckily for us, dax loves it. (we are still nursing 4-6 times a day.) and, as far as convenience goes, i feel like it’s more convenient to pull my shirt up than to always have formula on hand but i’m just lazy like that. :)

  7. I teared up while reading this! That comment about every milestone he gets and older he gets pushes you further apart…that one especially was how I feel about my son. I am so proud of him when he learns new things, but then I think about how before I know it, he will be a teenager and will hate me.

    • when people say that i shouldn’t let him sleep on me or i should put him down more often, this is what i think. in fifteen years he will be all but gone away. why push him away sooner? it already hurts enough!

  8. What a precious love letter to your precious baby boy! Such a sweet letter to happen across – thank you for sharing this with us as well. :) Blessings to you and your growing one year old! – J.C.

  9. Such a beautiful reflection of his first year and your journey as a mommy. My daughter is only 5 mos, and I am in awe of how much I love her and cannot believe how fast she is growing.

  10. awwww….such a tender loving letter….makes me want to live such a beautiful time too….wish your sonny boy a wonderful life and congratulations on being a mum to such an amazing baby and on being freshly pressed,

  11. What a lovely letter :) I felt like I was going through the same emotions you were. My daughter will be 1 next month, so I can totally relate to you. I love how he still likes to sleep on your chest. Happy Birthday little man :)

  12. So lovely to read and such a lovely idea, I definitely think I need to borrow this idea in a few months for my baby girl. I hope he reads this back in the future to see how much you love him.

  13. You’re a super momma! You brought to this earth such a handsome young man! :-) Happy birthday to you, baby Dax, and congratulations to you, mommy Lindsay, on being freshly pressed! Your post inspires me to want to be a mom too someday. :-)

  14. Absolutely gorgeous. I hadn’t intended on spending the last 5 minutes of my lunch break weeping like a girl at my desk, but there you have it. I can’t wait to be a parent. I don’t know you but I’m proud of you!

    • hey! you know me now! thanks for reading and sobbing along with me. i’d pass the tissues if that were physically possible. (don’t worry — not all of my blogs are ugly-cry-inducing.)

  15. What a beautiful post, so personal and yet so universal too, something I am sure all mothers can relate to. Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy turning one, and congratulations on being freshly pressed:-) Blessings to you both. xxx

  16. What a letter totally great being a mother my self I can fully understand the emotions and all the great time you spend with your new born ….. They grow so fast but in your memory they are always cute babies you held them once in your and for the very first time …..

  17. My baby boy is 8 months old and I got terribly choked up reading this. I wrote a letter to him the night before he was born and I plan to write one every year… I think it’s just such a lovely way to really document your feelings.
    What a nice post to stumble onto… Happy birthday to your sweet boy!

  18. Pingback: Freshly Riffed 42: So Long, And Thanks For All The References | A VERY STRANGE PLACE

  19. Reblogged this on Patch Abilities and commented:
    While taking a little break from designing and working today, I ran across this blog post, that sums up the last year and a half of my life to a tee. I needed a few tissues while reading it and loved it so much, I’m posting it to my blog because I could not have written it better myself. Enjoy. ~Julie

  20. This is so beautiful! Your son is gorgeous. Mine just turned 7 months. I can’t believe how much he has grown in such a short time. Babies are truly the best gift one can ever receive.

  21. I just loved it! Very touching and I can relate to it very easily. I feel like giving my babies a hug right now. Perhaps write a letter to them too. Keep writing. I really enjoyed it.

  22. Oh honey, I’m teary eyed right now. I’m glad this is one of technology’s best product to date. Its ability to share our deepest emotions with just a click. While reading I wished my mother also wrote one for me. I’d love to read it by now. Haha. Anyway, I’d probably do the same for my future baby. Bless you and your family!

  23. It just gets better. Then worse. Then better again. Then worse. Mixed with sleeplessness, then SLEEP. Messy messy messy dirty dirty dirty all things you own. Helpless love gets you through it all. It is an exciting journey and I was happy to read your post about the first year. I remember our first year feeling so complicated and scary and weird. Now our first pancake is 12 1/2 with pubic hair, a deep voice and a stomach that could eat 30 thousand pounds of food a day. The moment you are in seems like the most intense and best. I am glad you recorded your moments. Your son will be glad. xxx

  24. Your son is very lucky to have such a loving and wonderful mother. I was almost envious at the idea of him having a love letter at the age of one. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post.

  25. You have an amazing and lucky boy to have amama like you. You are also very greatful for a baby boy. I almost cried. Its very touching letter. He will read this one day.

  26. Pingback: The Art of the Open Letter | The Daily Post

  27. what a beautiful write up . nothing compare to motherhood . first touch of your baby , his innocent smile , giggles , sweet glances baby n mom share . its surreal . thanks for sharing

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