My sweet Henry Pie,
You are eleven months old which means that everything I do now, I recall the memory of how it felt last year this time when I was still pregnant. For example, I’m finishing up wedding season and I vividly remember closing the car door for the drive home from the last wedding of 2014. I breathed a sigh of relief and said, “He can come now.” (Your daddy, who was driving us home 3 hours through the dark, hilly back roads of northeastern Iowa with a low phone battery, said, “Not yet…”)
I remember the endless afternoon walks—3-4 miles every day—to get some fresh air, stretch my legs, and try to use gravity to move you down so I could breath better.
I remember eating an apple every day to give me some acid reflux relief.
I remember feeling frustrated that you weren’t moving on my schedule to be born as soon as I finished the album design for the last wedding of the season—funny now as I have nearly a year of motherhood under my belt and am fully aware that a child never runs on anyone else’s schedule.
I remember being so tired. That achy, bone-deep tiredness that can only come from carrying another human in your body and having your own body supply their every need to stay alive.
I remember making freezer meals and cookies and cleaning the house. Nesting, in some ways, but also just trying to occupy my mind because I was finished with work and not yet holding a baby in my arms.
I remember being nervous about childbirth. People only tell the horror stories. The unknown was paralyzing. Contractions, water breaking, a rush to the hospital, how would it happen? It turns out there was nothing to worry about. (Scheduled induction on my due date, water broken by my doctor, and an epidural that made it all so incredibly easy and painless.)
So, yes, I’ve had a lot of flashback memories lately. But in all of the memories, I somehow still find it strange that you’ve only been here less than a year. Like, we went to the pumpkin patch and I was like, “But last year…oh, I guess he wasn’t here yet! I guess it really is his first time!
It’s hard to imagine a life without you. I’m glad. You’ve filled a space in our family that we never knew was empty. We love you, Henry. If you never know anything else in life, I want you to know that we love you with the rawest, truest, deepest love that only a parent can have.
We applaud your every new accomplishment; we play silly games to make you laugh; we go on adventures even if we don’t feel like going to the work to make it happen just because we want to make memories with you (even though we’re fully aware you won’t actually remember any of this yet). Even in the midst of our most frustrating times with you (because there are), our love doesn’t waver. You’re ours. We’re yours.
You easily get around. Crawling is old hat now just as pulling yourself up on everything is. You’re curious about everything. You don’t like being on the floor if I’m doing something on the counter because you really feel like you need to supervise everything. You crawl up my legs and pound your little hands against my butt until you have my attention and then reach your little arms up, begging to see.
You’ve becoming increasingly attached to your pacifier and we have to hide it if we even have a chance at you forgetting you want it. You’ve also become very attached to me and even though I know it’s just a phase, some days it can be exhausting being the one person you have to have. Thankfully, you get really excited when your daddy comes home from work and that’s a big relief for all of us.
You still love to read books; you whine when we get to the last page if we don’t have another book ready to go immediately. You definitely have your favorites that you always pull out to read: Little Blue Truck, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way, Click, Clack, Moo, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar being some of them. We have been to several of your friends’ birthday parties (you’re the youngest so we’re getting lots of practice before your own next month) and, while you’re interested in their new toys, when they open gifts of books, you instantly go over to take a look. Books are your kryptonite. I’m not at all displeased about it—I had always hoped you’d love books like I do—and your wish list includes a ratio of about 90:10 books to toys.
You’re very curious about everything and you’re also an incredibly happy child. That perfect combination makes parenting you such an overwhelming joy. I promised to never sugar-coat things and so you should know that not every day is a party (as one would expect), but, truly, there are so many more wonderful days. I’m living that beautiful life that I wondered if we’d ever have back when you were a baby and life was so overwhelming. This right now? This is more perfect than I could’ve ever dreamed.
You’re my favorite boy in the whole world, Henry. I’m so glad you’re mine.