I've known, of course, that his birthday was approaching. But tonight as I sat with him in the dim light of his bedroom, nursing him to sleep, it hit me that the next time I see him (okay, let's be honest: he'll have me up 2 or 3 times tonight, so what I really mean is, when I see him in the morning) he will be one year old. At 1:29 a.m. tonight, it will be exactly a year since he came into our family . . . and I just suddenly feel overwhelmed.
What a year it's been. I still remember my labor with him, and giving birth, like it was yesterday. How it felt like the pain of pushing him out had the power to kill me . . . and then seeing what a surprisingly tiny baby he was, and I was filled with wonder, and exhaustion. And I had no clue - no clue - at that time . . . and not for hours and hours afterwards . . . that he was different in any way from any of my other babies.
Over the last year those seeds of love that were implanted in my heart when he took root in my womb have grown into a massive forest. I have experienced grief, and fear, and acceptance, and love, so much love. But I find myself feeling scared about this next year suddenly. I've known on some level that his first year would be easy in some respects. He's been a baby, and not a lot has been expected of him as a baby. This next year, he is expected to become a toddler. Will he walk? Will he talk? Whatever delays he might have just might become more apparent over the next year, and as much as I want to be able to say that I have found 100% acceptance, the truth is, maybe I haven't. If I had, I wouldn't be scared, right?
There is a part of me that wishes I could keep him a little baby forever. That I could shelter him and protect him from the world. I rocked him and rocked him tonight, thinking that if I just kept rocking him, somehow tomorrow wouldn't come and he wouldn't turn one and he would still be my little baby. Silly, I know. And I also know that in truth, when he wakes up in the morning, he'll be the exact same baby that I put to bed tonight.
Ahhh, these emotions.