My little guy, you’re ONE today. ONE year. 365 days. 365 kisses goodnight. 365 little smiles.
Three weeks ago I ordered you a birthday cake. When I hung up the phone I was dumbfounded. How could I possibly be ordering a cake for a baby who, ONE short year earlier, was making a relatively difficult entry into the world. How was it possible that you are old enough to eat buttercream icing? Buttercream icing? Not breastmilk or formula, not canned green beans or biter biscuits but cake and icing. Where was the peanut I brought home from the hospital with the little bitty chicken legs?
When I turn around in the car I expect to see that little face. What I see instead is a little man, smiling back at me with a mouthful of unintelligible words pouring out. I think to myself that if I sat still long enough I could actually see you grow before my eyes. It’s impossible to me that you are the same child I gave brith to ONE year ago.
We celebrated your birthday a few days early while we were in St. Louis last weekend for Thanksgiving. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cake, presents and a crown. What more could a ONE-year-old want? A nap maybe.
At ONE year old you are so full of life. You smile at everyone, are curious about every noise you hear and love your Dad and me with such force you can’t contain it sometimes. You are on the verge of walking, still head over heels in love with your green grasshopper blankie and still crawl on your hands and feet like a spider monkey. You talk up a storm and constantly makes a noise that sounds like ball without the ‘L’ sound. “Bau” is more like it. Or “wow.” You’re saying it over and over in the photo above.
Your Daddy is your best friend, the person you would choose to spend all your time with. 5 years from now I can picture you both in the backyard throwing baseballs and out-bouncing each other on the trampoline. You guys share secrets that only a father and son can and have your own language already.
After presents and a stint of tired crankiness we set you free on your smash cake. You didn’t want to get back in your high chair and I was happy to oblige, as I always am, trying to hold on to a bit more of your babyhood. You dipped a finger or two into the icing, testing the texture of the spongy cake and sticky frosting. It didn’t take you long to dive right in.
There’s always something up your sleeve. A glint in your eye of mischief and fun. A pleasure in life that carries you from step to step. You carefully study things before diving in, taking a moment to figure out exactly what you’re getting yourself into. You have expressed this curious caution since your first day in the hospital.
Sitting on my lap, poking and squeezing your cake, you got antsy. When I went to lift you slightly, to shift your weight on my lap, you seized the opportunity to smash your feet into your cake. Everyone gawked in horror at the mess and laughed as you made a mess all over the table. You and I knew better. What fun to dip your toes in birthday cake. Like sand at the beach only sweeter. Those little, wrinkly baby feet with toes that seem too chubby to fit on one foot, covered in buttercream icing. Life doesn’t get much sweeter than that.
Happy Birthday Little Man! May all your birthdays be as sweet as this ONE.