Happy first birthday, Liam!

011My sweet baby Liam — here we are, at your first birthday.  It’s a little unbelievable to me that we welcomed you to the world only a year ago . . . and at the same time, I can’t believe this day is here already.

You are a joy to have in my life.  I love your spirit and your heart.  You smile often and broadly — your smile lights up your entire face.  You have spent much of your first year with a paci in your mouth, but your eyes smile, too, so there’s no mistaking it, even when we can’t see your darling mouth.  You are a happy baby, except when you are not.  When you are displeased, there is no mistaking how you feel — you scream, you cry, you arch your back, you bang your head on the floor (the latter mostly from frustration) — you already throw full tantrums when you’re unhappy.  But most of the time, you are a smiling, joyful baby rushing headlong from one activity to the next.  You are fast — just a few days ago, you took your first steps, and you are already amazingly steady on your feet.  When you need to move quickly, though, you still crawl — at warp speed!  You are a fast little fellow!  I love watching you crawl at full speed around the house, after Benjamin, or toward the bathroom for your bath — it is just so much who you are.  I love watching the enthusiasm with which you explore the world.  You throw yourself into every new endeavor:  rolling over, crawling, walking, riding your new bike — and you learn so quickly.

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You are an enthusiastic eater, too!  We often joke that poor Bailey is disappointed in you, after Benjamin.  When Benjamin was learning to eat, there was a lot of food left — on his tray, on the floor, on the walls, on himself.  Not so with you, my little friend!  You have yet to meet something to eat that you don’t enjoy.  Poor Bailey scouts for crumbs after every meal, usually to no avail.  He forgives you, though, because you are a sweet and gentle, creature, too — you pet Bailey so kindly, already.

Through you, I have seen Benjamin become a big brother, and I am thrilled and overjoyed at the way you two love each other.  He looks after  you, you adore him.  You are a happy, smiling baby . . . but never so much as when you’re with your brother.  You love to be with him, whether you’re cuddling together, racing around together, or playing together.  You both love to share hugs and snuggles.  It is so wonderful for me to see the way you are together, and how happy and loving you are towards each other.

You love to dance.  You love to snuggle.  You love to explore and do new things.  You love to try to keep up with Benjamin.  You love to get into mischief — you have a wonderful, mischievious grin and giggle that you reserve for when you know you’re doing something you shouldn’t be.  You are fast, and you are in to everything — you keep me on my toes!  You’re starting to be fascinated by books (for a while you just wanted to eat them, but that’s changing).  Months ago, you starting saying “Mama!” to me . . . more recently, that seems to have gone away, but it will be back, I know.  You’ve learned little things that surprise me — you recognize star shapes and always point them out.  Your capacity for understanding what we say to you is astonishing.

You have taken to our new location in the world very easily.  I think part of it is your age, but I know that part of it is just you.  You are happy when you are with us — you have your priorities in order, already, and you go with the flow.  You are happy where you find yourself, as long as we are there.  On the other hand, I am sad that we have taken you away from your extended family — they would be so delighted to know you better, and you would adore them, too.  They love you, from afar, and you love them, too — I giggle when you greet your Grandma, when we talk, with your scream of “Da!” and lots of pounding on the table.  You love to see her, and the rest of your family, too.  Even though we’re far away, you are very, very loved by all of them.

When I think back to your entrance into the world, I can’t help but remember how scary your first few days were, as well.  I am so grateful that your difficult beginning has left no mark upon you — if I hadn’t been there to see it myself, I don’t know that I could imagine you, with your overflowing vitality, struggling to be a healthy little baby.  You’ve really never looked back.  You are so strong, so healthy, so vibrant, so happy — it’s wonderful to see.

I love you, my little Liam.  I love you forever and ever, exactly as you are and exactly who you are.  You are my beautiful, sweet baby boy.  You are a joyous creature and a gift in my life.  I am so lucky to be your mommy, and I am so glad that you are here.  You are happy, sweet, opinionated, easy going, enthusiastic, loving, vital, kind and quick.  Our family, which was wonderful before you, has become richer — somehow better, in a way I couldn’t have imagined and can’t really explain.  It is as though you were always meant to be here, and that we all knew it — we were just waiting for you to arrive.

Happy birthday, my sweet, darling love.

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