I hear giggles as happy children catch bubbles, and mommies and daddies watch their babies play. As I gently place the last cupcake on the tray, I am suddenly overcome with emotion. I am so happy that it almost hurts.
Today is your first birthday. Every year, on this day, for the rest of your life you will celebrate the passing of another year; of course, as you grow older you’ll choose to celebrate in different ways.
Through your early childhood, these birthdays will be filled with giggles, balloons, cupcakes, and hugs. As you grow older, these birthdays will be an “opportunity” for your mom and dad to spoil you. I am trying not to imagine what your birthdays during your teens and early 20s will be like. The thought terrifies me. And, then, when you outgrow those crazy years (sooner than later, I am hoping), you will be where I am now. Your birthday will be a day of reflection; a moment to think of the people and moments that have forever changed you.
But, for me, your birthday will be exactly the same every year. Your birthday will bring an uncontrollable smile on my face, tears to my eyes, and fill my heart with pride and love. It will be a playback of each and every day I have loved you – from your silly giggles, to your angry shrieks, to your playful grins – every single moment is captured so carefully in my mind. These precious moments will be preserved and cherished in a way that no piece of technology could ever capture and save.
You are growing so quickly. I just brought you home from the hospital – how did you learn to walk already? How did you learn to give me kisses, and call me mama? In one short year, how did you manage to steal my heart away with your little toothless smiles and that wide-eyed ‘peek-a-boo’ face? And, how have you managed to turn this once confident and level-headed woman into a teary-eyed blubbering mess who is desperately trying to keep it together?
Every year, these same questions will run through my head.
Every year, they will leave me baffled.
One thing, however, will change every birthday. My love for you will grow. Even though, at this very moment, I don’t think it’s possible for me to love you any more – tomorrow will come, and I will be proven wrong. Again.
This year, and every year, I will say a silent prayer. I hope you stay this way forever, my son. I pray that you will always learn as you do now, with an insatiable curiosity and desire to explore. I pray you will always smile as you do now, wholeheartedly and with pure happiness. I pray you will always laugh as you do now, freely and without fear. And, most importantly, I pray that you will always love like you do now, without holding anything back.
I love you, my baby. Happy Birthday.