Happy Birthday, Baby

12.03.08: Charlie's first birthday


Dear Charlie,

Today is your birthday. Your first birthday. It probably feels like any other day to you, but trust me when I say that this is a big deal. For me, it's the happy/sad end-of-an-era, a day that I will surely spend in the fog of my own wistful nostalgia.

The weather prediction for the entire week is snow. Just like last year—when we told Julia that you would come with the snow. To think that a year ago today, we were gazing into your sweet face for the very first time. You were lying warm and wet against my chest, with your squished-in chin and your shiny wet black hair. My first thought was: "Beautiful." Little did we know how your cheeks would fill out into these soft, warm, kissable chunks of dough; how your otherworldly eyes would soon sparkle clearer and bluer than the bluest sky; how your silky black hair would turn into a golden ring of curls around your head. What I did know then—what I have known from even before I ever laid eyes on you—is how much I love you.

It feels like just yesterday. Just yesterday when Julia and I picked out her "I'm a Big Sister" T-shirt to surprise Daddy with the news of you—the best surprise of my life. Just yesterday when you were waving to us on the ultrasound screen, when we found out that you were a boy—a Boy! Just yesterday, when Daddy was driving me to the hospital, and I was clutching my big belly and begging him to slow down over the bumps in the road. Just yesterday, when your foot was the length of my pinky.

You're such a person now. You're standing in the middle of the room in your corduroy overalls, holding your hands up in the air in a "Look ma, no hands!" kind of way before flopping down onto your diapered bottom. You're crawling to the top of the stairs—so fast!—where you sit and clap proudly for yourself. Now, you hold your toys out to us and ask "Ahhh? Ahhh?" and offer your paci to complete strangers. When you hear music, you nod your head and shake your shoulders and wiggle your bottom with this happy, goofy grin on your face. (You've obviously inherited your father's dance moves.) Sometimes you lean your head against my chest and just leave it there. When I hold you in my lap, you babble so softly in the sweetest baby voice, I wish I could bottle it and uncork it years from now on a day when you're grown and off on your own.

Tonight, we'll have cake, and sing Happy Birthday, and let you tear into your first birthday present, knowing that all you'll really care about is the wrapping paper and the box. I will stand by and clap and sing and make a wish for your future as Jujie helps you blow out your candle. And I will try to ignore the tightening in my chest.

Wendy tells me that every birthday is a wrench to the heart. Daddy says he thinks that this is when the fun really begins.

I think they're both right.

Join FitPregnancy.com's Managing Editor Dana Rousmaniere each week as she chronicles life with a new baby.

Read the next entry: 12.10.07: The Family Wagon