I've started writing this a number of times, but nothing seems right, my fingers move on the keys, words spewing... and then. No. That's not good enough. Delete. Delete. Erase.
This is big! This is huge! Louie is one year old! Be better! Write better! I put this bizarre pressure on myself to somehow perfectly capture his essence, to say something profound, to find the words to describe what it means to be this kid's mom. I want to remember forever who he is, right now, one year into his unwritten life, a life that could go in so many directions, could take him so many places. There is much promise, much unknown, what will he do? Who will he be?
Since I became these boys' mother, I look at birthdays so much differently than I used to. I was not a birthday person, and now, oh you better believe it, I am a birthday person. We have to celebrate and reflect and be thankful for right now, as we have no idea what tomorrow brings. And EVERY person, every little boy, should feel special on his birthday because there will never be anyone else like him, ever.
On the night you were born,
The moon smiled with such wonder
That the stars peeked in to see you
And the night wind whispered,
"Life will never be the same."
Because there had never been anyone like you... ever in the world.*
Louie came into our world just a little over a year ago and in doing so, somehow managed to both CHANGE EVERYTHING and also fit right into our little piece of the world like he was exactly what we were missing. Children seem to do that. Goodness, how do they do that? Magic.
This boy. He is magic.
He is mine, and I am his.
And since I'm perpetually late in pretty much every aspect of my life, it's fitting that I would finally write about his birthday ten days late.
Maybe I should pretend that I did that on purpose. Okay, yeah, that's what I'm going to do.
I'm writing today because TODAY is the 1-year anniversary of Louie's actual due date. I know there will be many more surprises throughout life with this boy, but that was the first one, and it was a shocker. Ten days early, this kid decided to slip in right before the new year, sort of making that "Big Brother 2012" shirt we put on Gus to announce our pregnancy look pretty darn stupid.
Ahh well, it's just a funny part of his story, our family's story.
So Louie is one year old, and I can definitively say that doing this thing a second time around is just as special, just as wild, just as fun, and just as difficult. Well, certainly it's been more difficult, but that's not little Louie's fault, we can place the blame for that on his energetic and very three mop-headed big brother.
At one year old, Louie is just a joy. He loves music, loves to dance and bop and sway back and forth on his feet, especially while banging on a keyboard or shaking some sort of make-shift instrument like a box of macaroni and cheese. That smile of his, oh I'm pretty sure sunshine comes out of it, it is infectious and easy and comforting and silly.
He loves to eat, but already has some very strong opinions on WHAT he eats. If left to his own devices, surely he would eat cheerios and cheese and frozen waffles for every meal for the rest of his days. Sippy cups and spoons and other utensils are his favorite, he likes choices and he likes control.
Louie is very opinionated, he knows what he wants, wants it now, and yup, he pretty much knows how to get it. One of his very first words (besides mama, dada, no, and uh-oh) was MINE! (do you think he lives with a 3-year-old?) and when he wants something he points to it and yells MINE! until the adult closest to him figures out what he's pointing at and gives it to him. It is hilarious, yes, but also somewhat horrifying.
I am a little amazed by some of the quirks of a second-born kid, he seems to pick things up so quickly, always watching and learning from his big brother. For example he has been vrooming cars around the house pretty much since he started crawling at 7 months old. It sort of blew my mind a little, to see a tiny little baby doing something like that. And he LOVES any Cars movie toy, even though, of course at just one he hasn't actually watched the movie. He simply knows how important those little characters are to Gus, so those toys are the first he goes after. Many a brotherly fight has been had over stupid little Mater and Lightening McQueen cars. Already with the sibling rivalry, and not just on Gus's end! Louie is quite the little instigator and I love him for it.
I am thankful for this wonderful year. Yes, it's been difficult, it's such a cliche but it's the truth, I'm perpetually exhausted, sleep deprived, and I shower about 30% less than I did in 2011. But all the hard parts are just parts of the whole, which was a perfect year. Blessed, happy, chaotic, loud, frustrating, peaceful, overwhelming, this year was a gift.
Louie, we love you so much, and we promise to be there, mom, dad & Gus, this little family is all in it together. We're ready to find out what's next, excited to be there as you become more and more your own person. I will be watching you see the world, holding my breath a little as you leave your babyhood behind and need me a little bit less, or at least differently, every single day. I'm not sad though, because truly I just can't wait to see what's next.
Happy Birthday my baby Louie.
*From this book by Nancy Tillman. It is one of my absolute favorites, and was given to us by Dan's brother and our sister-in-law when Louie was born.