Exactly one year ago today, my belly was fresh with stitches. My body without you, still not yet my very own, was numb from surgery, my mind fuzzy with hormones and chemicals. I very clearly remember feeling the need to hold you, from down deep within me, like an intense hunger. The need was an overwhelming physical sensation. My arms that had longed for just one more chance to hold new life, finally sated with the weight of you. Holding you that first time I felt the final puzzle piece snap into place. I remember taking a breath, marking the moment, admiring the whole picture, complete.
The geography of you is so familiar, yet brand new. You are exactly like your older brothers. You are completely different too. A flash of Quinn, a glimmer of Remy and the sureness that you will make your way in the world as one-hundred percent Soren.
Your smile is like the brightest sunshine, the sweetest orange, the highest high. One flash to a stranger and they walk away lighter, your impish grin contagious, their own smile taking hold where before there was none. Waiting for your brother at school the kids pour out of the gates and nearly every single one who passes you stops a moment to exclaim, "oh, what a cute baby!" before rushing to their own families. Even at your tender age, you have a spark that makes people take notice.
Your body, once contained within my own, knows no boundaries now.
You are constantly on the move, exploring, discovering, conquering. Your tenacity and spirit for adventure both frustrates and thrills me.
I have no doubt that you will be able to hold your own amongst your older brothers. More likely, you will challenge them to keep growing, stretching, changing... a constant quest to discover who will get there first.
I've been doing this parenthood thing long enough to know that I can't persuade time to slow down, or freeze, or linger at any particular stage. I can only sit back, relax, and marvel at the speed you travel from infant to toddler, pre-to-K-to-middle-to-high schooler, eventually into man-hood.
What an incredible adventure we are on.
I promise not to blink, keeping my eyes wide open the whole time, even through the scary parts.
But now... now you are one.
You like bananas and stealing your brother's race cars. You pull on your dog Dewey's fur and he never growls at you. You can make it from the playroom to the bathroom in 5 seconds flat, slithering on your belly army-crawl style, hoping against hope that somebody forgot to put the lid down. You love to play in the dog's water too.
You wave hi & bye like a champ & have recently discovered clapping. You like to point at things and say "dat." You say "dada" sometimes & have said "mama" only once, in a fit of crying.
Your voice is sweet.
Your nearly-bald head is the perfect round shape... so tender, so touchable... friends and family, and even the occasional stranger, find themselves rubbing it like a Buddha's belly for good luck.
Our family is so very lucky to have you.
Happy Birthday my sweet boy.
I love you more than words can say.