I can only imagine what tiny, multipurpose device you may be reading this on in the future, but I know that your dad and I didn't pay for it.
That's not a good way to start this. Let's try again.
The past 12 months have gone by faster than any single year of my life. I think before you were born, time lumbered along in no big hurry to get anywhere. I waited what seemed like forever for you. Long before I was pregnant with you, even before I imagined how you'd have your father's nose and ears, I couldn't wait to meet you. My first born. I used to dream about you and could almost remember what your face looked like when I woke up.
When we found out you were on the way, I felt like I'd known you forever. There were things I will probably always regret about your birth that I had no control over. I admit that because even though things didn't turn out the way I planned and I wasn't awake the moment you were born and your father couldn't be in the room, you did just fine on your own. I learned on your birthday to have faith in you.
I'm so proud of both of us for getting through the tense first weeks of nursing and sticking with it for a full 12 months. I have you to thank for helping me achieve the greatest physical challenge of my life, and your future siblings have you to thank as well for making sure they'll have a chance, too. But don't think for a minute that I won't bring up the pain when you're in need of a good guilt trip one day, mister.
This year you've flown across the country four times--8 plane rides with countless layovers--and you're gearing up for more in your second year. You've been visited by your Gramma & Oppa, MaWat, Aunt Pookie & Uncle Sean, Aunt Andra & Cousin Grace, Aunt Diane & Uncle Ben, and Nonnie & Great-Grampa here in Oklahoma. You bring a smile to everyone's face because of your bright eyes and dimples, so much so that I have to fight off old men in the grocery store who want to hold you. You're a healthy kid, too--this past year there was a swine flu epidemic that you didn't catch (thank goodness) and you were never colicky or sensitive to anything.
Well, that's not true. You are the lightest sleeper I've ever met (where do you get that from?!?) and your father and I have employed all kinds of soothing white noise fans and gentle music to try to keep you asleep. You wage epic battles to keep from going to sleep if you think there is fun to be had by staying awake. I hope this is something you grow out of next year.
Speaking of growing, you grew 8 teeth in your first year. You eat like a bottomless pit, though lately you've taken an interest in feeding the dogs from your highchair or slowly tossing bits of food onto the floor to see if I'll notice and stop you. You're very much into playing games these days--how many CDs can you pull out of the case before we stop you, how many buttons on the keyboard can you push before we stop you, how long before I make you stop chewing on my cell phone. I've gone through 3 cell phones in your first year, by the way. It's hard to be mad though, because your face lights up at the end of the day when it's time to call Daddy at his office and you can hear his voice in your ear.
We took thousands of pictures of you and recorded dozens of videos to send to our family and friends back East. It's not easy being so far away from them, but you make Oklahoma much less lonely. I hope we can keep up with the picture and video taking, but if we don't, it's because we're too busy having fun with you to stop and grab a camera. I hope you remember those times without needing a picture or video.
Just like I didn't really understand love before I met your father, I didn't really understand joy or fear before this last year with you. I see so much of myself in you now--something I didn't expect at all--and it makes me want to be better for you. You've turned me into a full-fledged tree-hugging green monster because I want the world to be a better place for you.
You've accomplished so much in your first year, and I'm looking forward to the ride we have ahead of us in Year Two. I'm not just proud of you, I'm inspired by you and I hope one day you'll understand that when I set boundaries for you, it is because I respect you.
I love you, Bubba.