Wednesday, February 17, 2010

One Year Old

Now that? That is a happy baby.

So, my little boy turned one and it totally sent me on a talespin. What happened to this last year? It's hard to believe that only a year ago I was in my well-worn hospital bed, anticipating the fresh air I would get to breathe after six weeks of confinement to the hospital. I was ready to be done with the pregnancy, and ready to be done with awful emotional strain that it took to deal with it every day.

Little did I know, that the emotional strain didn't end at the hospital doors.

The past year has been tiring. And emotionally draining. And hard. Besides dealing with our stillborn baby, we had the stress of getting our lives back after the screeching halt that occurred on the day we were diagnosed. We had to learn to be a family again, only with one more person than before. We had to figure out how to get back into the swing of things.

But we did it. And we made it. And as Andrew turned one, I breathed a little sigh of relief while I hung the decorations and iced the cake. In a lot of ways I think that our experience was pretty much the story of our lives, the one that shaped us and changed us and molded into whatever we needed to be. We're much different now, Justin, Addison and me. The addition of Andrew and Thomas made us a tough group, fiercely loyal and exceptionally protective of one another. We laughed in the face of bad news and cried over funny things and learned that there really is no place like our home.

It's hard not to become completely retrospective after a one-year anniversary, but I'm hoping that getting over the one year mark makes me even more likely to be happy at the prospect of what's to come of the four of us.

To my Andrew, you are literally the light of my life. I've never heard of a happier baby, and you make everyone smile; your own smile is wide and infectious. You make life easy for me, and are content and sweet, steady and even-tempered. You gave me the gift of having a real, live mama's boy. It's impossible not to kiss you roughly 8,000 times per day. If I were to describe your personality at one year old, I would say you're happy. Happy to go for a walk, happy to play with your sister, happy to sit on my lap and play with my hair, happy to fall asleep with warm milk and a blanket. You look like me but have the temperament of your dad; easy going and accepting, slow to anger and quick to humor me.

To my Thomas, we won't forget you. You are as much a part of our family as any member. I think about you daily. A few days ago, your Affirmation of Life certificate arrived in the mail, and I was so happy to see your name, in print, on a document that we can hang in our home. You have a daily presence, even if you're not here, and we've learned to talk about you without regret or sorrow, only hope. I feel grateful for the time we spent together, you kicking my ribs and Andrew lazily hiccuping. We were quite a trio. I love you.

With the year at a close, I've resolved not to be sad anymore. I'm sure I'll feel sad from time to time, and I'll still have days when I sit and try to reason it out in my head ("I could have done it, you know. I could have raised both boys and it would have been just fine.") but I can be happy in the state of our family, my daring and wild little girl, and especially my strong and steady son.

In a way, we all turned one year old yesterday. It was Andrew's birthday, but we celebrated being a year stronger, a year happier, a year healed over.

Does that mean I get a cake too?


Carolyn said...

What a sweet post! Andrew is the cutest little guy ever. Happy birthday to you all! :)

Morgan -Ing said...

Happy Birthday to the whole family! Beautifully said Jae. Beautiful.

Derek and Mary said...

I love his smile! You are incredibly brave and a wonderful woman! Ditto to what Morgan said. Congrats on your birthday!

Janelle said...

What a great post, Jae. Happy Birthday!

Anonymous said...

I'm a long-time blog stalker, and I've commented a few times before. (Found your blog via LDS babycenter.) I loved what you had to say. What a great outlook you have...Your children have much to be proud of, hailing from a strong mother like you!
- Lanette

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