Today, you are one year old, and I can’t help but reflect on what this year has meant to both me and your proud dad. I wrote you letters while I was pregnant with you, dreaming of the little boy I would one day hold in my arms. I wrote that I knew two things about you: You’d love the Yankees and we’d love you more than anything in the world. I wrote about all the fun things we’d teach you: How to ride a bike, how to tie your shoes, how to catch a lizard with your bare hands. I imagined you running up and hugging me after a long day at school, I dreamt of us baking holiday cookies together, I pictured taking your Prom photos on the front stairs. And I made of list of all the places we’d take you: to the zoo, to Grandma’s house, to the splash park, to a baseball game.
But today, I’m not thinking about all the things we’ve done, all the places we’ve gone and all the things we’ve taught you. I’m actually grateful for the things you’ve taught me, lessons I didn’t even know I needed to learn.
You’ve taught me how to be patient. You’ve reminded me to be curious and to continue to learn something new every day. You’ve taught me to trust in myself, because even though I had no idea what I was doing as a Mommy, we figured it out as a family. You taught me to trust my gut — Daddy and I fought a few doctors to figure you out. You taught me that while schedules are certainly important, there are a few good reasons to break them every now and then. You showed me that hearing one of your big belly laughs could cure the hardest of days. You taught me that every day is a reason to dance.
You’ve taught me to loosen up … have fun … life doesn’t have to be so serious all the time. You’ve reminded me of all the fun I had as a child, all the games I played, where my imagination took me. You’ve allowed me to rediscover the world through your eyes.
Having you in our lives allowed me to see a whole new side of Daddy, a softer, gentler and stronger man than I ever knew before. Daddy’s eyes lit up the second he saw you, and he was by your side right from the start, keeping you company in the NICU until I could see you. Daddy became the ultimate protector of both of us in that hospital room. And watching the two of you together fills my heart with overwhelming joy! You’d reach up to Daddy and you could just see his heart melt.
But when I look through the photos in this last year, it’s the quiet, everyday moments that I’ll cherish forever. Some of my favorite memories are the first time I felt you breathe on my chest. I loved looking down at your long beautiful eyelashes. I loved the way you would snuggle with your lambie in your crib. You loved sleeping on your left side when you were little. I was so scared to dress you in the beginning because I’d never dressed a baby before — so you stayed pretty much naked for the first week.
Me, you and Daddy used to take LONG car rides, because it was the only way you’d fall asleep, so we spent many afternoon touring the Tampa Bay area. In fact, you blew the engine in Daddy’s Commander with all the trips to the Skyway Bridge.
You loved to be bounced, so I’d spend days literally walking in circles with you, just bouncing and bouncing. I’d even bounce when I wasn’t holding you, just out of pure habit. Your favorite toys were your giraffe rattle, your keys and lambie. You’d play with your shadow and you loved looking in the mirror. When you’d fuss, I’d sing to you in the car, and you’d just watch and listen. You thought Peanut and Cashew were hysterical, and you’d crack up whenever they came around.
But today, I’m supposed to see you as a big boy now that you’re one, but I still see my sweet baby boy. I’ll always see your little ringlets and dimples when I see your smiling face, no matter how big you get. I’ll always remember your tiny fingers wrapped around mine. And I’ll always be honored that you decided to make me your mommy.
I love you, son.
Here are just a few of the highlights in the last year.
• October 29, 2013: Reece is born at 8:24 p.m. weighing 7 pounds and 20 inches long
• October 30, 2013: First time getting your wild hair washed
• October 31, 2013: First time trick-or-treating and you cleaned up at the nurses’ station (Kit-Kat) while wearing Frankenstein pants
• Rolled over in the first month
• November 28, 2013: First Thanksgiving at Grandpa Orlando’s, wore a turkey butt outfit
• Went picking out a Christmas tree together and you had one in your room
• You hated bath time with Mommy but LOVED it with Daddy
• You loved your bouncer, you’d swing your leg up and down just to bounce more
• Wore an elf outfit on Christmas morning and a tux on New Year’s Eve
• February 2, 2014: Superbowl, first time sleeping through the night
• February 14, 2014: You and Daddy surprised me at work on Valentine’s Day, dressed in your “Most Eligible Bachelor” shirt
• March 30, 2014: Went to Oldsmar Days, and you were mesmerized by the fair rides
• April 20, 2014: Easter at Aunt Steph’s house, wore bunny ears
• April 21, 2014: First time at the park, went on the slide and swings
• April 26, 2014: First time in the pool at Grandma Tam’s house and you LOVE it
• May 4, 2014: You get the jumper
• May 4, 2014: First time eating food (peas). You loved corn, squash and pears. You hate sweet potatoes.
• May 16, 2014: First time flying on a plane to Nan and Pop Pop’s house
• May 21, 2014: First time putting your toes in the sand in Delaware, but you hated the cold ocean water
• May 24, 2014: You met my Grandpa Tam for the first and only time, but you brought such joy to him in his last days and he loved looking at your photos.
• May 31, 2014: Attended Mason’s graduation party
• June 1, 2014: Now you love sweet potatoes
• June 29, 2014: First tooth pops through (bottom left) and sat up unassisted for the first time
• July 4, 2014: Work the cutest “Mommy’s Firecracker” outfit and Lady Liberty crown
• July 10, 2014: First time dressing like a big boy (no onesie) and heading to sushi with Mommy and Daddy
• June 19, 2014: First time crawling
• July 25, 2014: You say your first word (“Da Da”) and started climbing up on things at Aunt Stacy’s annual Pig Roast in CT
• August 3, 2014: Became an outlaw at Madison’s birthday party
• August 16, 2014: First Yankees game. Daddy was SO proud to take you there.
• August 27, 2014: Reached expert cruiser status
• August 30, 2014: First time seeing mermaids at Weeki Wachee and going to the splash park!
• September 17, 2014: Said “Momma” for the first time
• September 26, 2014: Leaned how to wave goodbye
• October 22, 2014: You’ve turned into a break-dancing fool over night!
• October 26, 2014: First time at the Oldsmar Fall Festival/Pumpkin Patch
• October 27, 2014: First time with whole milk in your bottle
• October 29, 2014: First time carving pumpkins