To Aiden On His First Birthday

Since there was such positive response to the letter that I wrote recently for Owen on his first birthday, I thought that I would share this letter I wrote years ago for Aiden on his number 1. It is amazing to look back and see the similarities and vast differences between both our two boys and our outlook on parenting. Time does move SO fast. And I don’t always cherish every moment (like all the old ladies tell me to) because, let’s face it, they’re not all cherishable! But I have more than my fair share of wonderful memories and for that I am grateful.

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To my darling little boy,

It is amazing to me that, so quickly, that is what you have become . . . a little boy.  The tiny 7 pound baby that I brought home from the hospital a year ago is only slightly visible still behind your adorable blue eyes.  Eyes full of mischief, intrigue, growth, understanding, confusion, questions, happiness and spunk.  I have always believed that there is something prophetic about a person’s name.  When we chose the name Aiden for you, meaning “Fiery Spirit,” we could not have hit the nail more on the head. You are definitely full of fire and vigor for life – so eager to experience all of the world.  I think you get that drive from your daddy and that independence from me.   I am amazed every day as I watch you grow and change and develop into your own unique individual.  Part Daddy, part me, and ALL you.  You are an unceasing source of inspiration for me.  Also frustration sometimes, but that’s all part of being a kid.  It is wonderful for me to see the world through a fresh set of eyes.  Your eyes.  Everything new and exciting and strange.  Fearless and ready to take on anything.  And to help you see the world through more developed eyes.  My eyes.  I am blown away as, every day, you learn a new accomplishment.  At two months you started sleeping all the way through the night and finally letting Mommy and Daddy rest.  At that age you also started coming to work with Mama and sleeping on her desk or playing on the floor.  These were precious times and I am so grateful that I was able to spend the first six months of your life with you all day every day.  At four months you started rolling over and 6 months you could sit up by yourself.  This was a major development because then you were able to see the world from an upright perspective, reach for and hold toys, and stay so much more contented.  But this is also the age at which you had to start day care.  You were getting too big for Mama to take care of and work at the same time.  We put you in a full-time day care called the Little Samaritan that was only a block from where I worked, but it was a very difficult time for both you and Mama.  Having always been together for 6 months, you did not like the idea of spending all day with strangers and it broke my heart every time I checked on you during the day and you were crying your little eyes out.  This only lasted a month before I found a new job that I could work part-time in the mornings and spend the majority of my time with you.  It took a little while, but this is also when we found Jen to be your sitter while I was at work.  Mrs. Jen loved you and you adored her and her house and your friends there.  Even though you were only 7 ½ months when you started going to her house, you were at home there within a week.  It was such a refreshing breath of air to pick up a happy baby and get to go home and spend more time with you again.  Then, at 8 months, you celebrated your first Christmas and got your first two bottom teeth at the same time.  Grandpa and Grandma, Aunt Jenniffer, Aunt Susan and her family, and Aunt Sarah and her family all came to visit and brought you wonderful presents which you opened with vigor.  We very much hoped that you would be crawling by Christmas, but you had other plans.  You didn’t want to crawl till you KNEW you could do it well.  So you waited till you were about 10 months old and then you took off across the room.  There was no squirming or army pulls.  You just went from nothing to complete crawling and we loved it!  Everyone told us that we would pine for the days when you were stuck in one spot and could not get around.  I never did.  I loved that you could now go after things on your own.  Express more individual desire and drive. Follow and lead.  Get into mischief.  It was wonderful and I never looked back.  You were contented to get around that way for quite some time and did not learn to walk before your first birthday.  Which came faster than I could possibly have imagined!  In the month leading up to it, we were slowly cutting back on nursing to prepare you (and me) for weaning.  I wanted it to be a gradual and natural process, but one week before your birthday, you decided you were done and you never really looked back.  You were a sippy cup man now.  Your birthday went beautifully and, just like your daddy, you started crying your eyes out when everyone sang you happy birthday. I mean, what’s scarier to a tiny person than everyone staring at you and singing loud, off-key words you’ve never heard before, right? But you got over it quickly once you got your bright blue, cookie monster cupcake! It is hard to believe that, already, you are turning into the kid, and eventually the man that you will one day become. I am so proud of you! I’m still going to hold onto these sweet baby cheeks and kisses and smiles for as long as I can, but I know that no matter how big you get, you will always be my baby. I love you sweet boy!

Love Forever and Always,

Mama

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Celebrate Good Times!

Well . . . I did it. I turned thirty. And, you know, I don’t feel any different. I don’t feel older or wiser, more capable or mature, less prone to worry or doubt. I don’t know exactly what I want to be when I grow up nor whether the things that fulfill me today will still fulfill me tomorrow. I discovered that it was not some magic number that would change my life and my outlook and the way that people saw me. It was just another day and I am just me. All the things that led to this point in my existence are as valuable (or invaluable) as they were the day before and they still make me who I am whether I am defined by the numbers 2-9 or 3-0. These may seem like silly realizations to those of you who have never been bothered by aging or plagued by the fear of leaving a decade behind, but for me they are profound. And I am relieved to have accepted them and moved on to embracing what the next decade has to offer.

I was extremely lucky to be able to celebrate the event by taking a day trip to Memphis with my family. And despite the freezing rain all day, we had a wonderful time. I felt completely blessed to be surrounded by the people who love me honestly and simply for who am and who value me more than anyone else. Here are a few glimpses of what that love looks like and why I am not afraid to begin the next decade with these boys by my side!

Experiencing the Peabody Ducks up close and personal!

Me and my sweetheart!

Magic!

I'm not sure what the tongue was about, but he LOVED riding the trolley (aka train) around downtown Memphis.

And so did we!

"Nostalgia on Beale St." - need I say more?

I DO know what the tongue was about in this one. Rock on DUDE!

My sweet little man rocking out on his "guitar."

As soon as we left the Gibson factory, this is what happened. He is clearly not ready to skip naps yet. Even with all the cold rain and noise of Beale Street, sleep overcame him.

A beautiful picture on a not so beautiful day.

20 Minutes later, he got to wake up to THIS - an authentic blues band at BB Kings! Needless to say, he was impressed.

As was Mama!

Sitting behind U2's drums at Sun Studios! He was pretty stoked, although somewhat disappointed that he couldn't play them.

All in all, a lovely day full of great memories to ring in the next 30 years! Cheers!