Today, you are one. I can’t believe that twelve months have passed since you came screaming into the world, forever changing life as we knew it and finally completing our family. I think back to the days before you were born, and they seem conspicuously empty – you always were the missing piece of our family’s puzzle. I just can’t imagine this world without you in it.
You are my little buddy and constant companion. You have accompanied me on countless trips to Target (where you have a small fan club), to doctor’s appointments, and even to work. You smile, coo, and wave, charming the pants off everyone you meet. But, no one is more in awe of you than I am. This past year, I’ve spent more time in your company than I have with anyone else, and I am so thankful for the special bond we share.
You are my last baby, which makes all of your milestones a bit bittersweet. Yesterday, we used up the final dregs of the formula, and I have to admit that I got a little teary. You outgrew your baby swing months ago, and your pack-n-play is packed up. Soon the bottles will be gone too. You don’t need me to rock you to sleep any more.
Will, you won’t remember all of the afternoons we spent sitting in the big brown chair in our family room, but I treasure my memories of them. Your drowsy head resting on my shoulder; your warm, milky breath against my chest. Me trying to memorize every detail of you, knowing that these moments would pass all too fast.
Those lazy afternoons seemed to move in slow motion, yet they quickly became part of your past. No longer a little baby, you are fast becoming a toddler. You had your first haircut today, and suddenly I have a glimpse of the little boy you soon will be.
Rough and tumble, nothing can stop you. Right now, you and your sister are playing together in the family room. You erupt with laughter as she runs around you. You reach out to grab her, but she’s too fast. For now. Soon, you will catch up and give her a run for her money, I suspect. Turning your attention to me, you waddle over with your hands out, inviting me to scoop you up and kiss you. I am always happy to oblige.
But, you don’t want to be held for long. There’s simply too much for you to do, to touch, to experience.
You have never met a person you didn’t like, a food you wouldn’t eat, or a toy you wouldn’t play with. You love swimming (or should I say splashing) in the water, riding in your car seat, and making elephant noises. You hate having your face wiped, putting clothes on, and standing still.
You have very sharp teeth, from which your plastic blocks, your crib railings, and I share scars. You pull your sister’s hair every chance you get. You tried to climb before you could walk. You grunt and growl more than you talk, although you can say “Mama,” “Dada,” “Baba,” “Up,” and – of course – “Poop.” You have perfected a piercing primal yell. You are so amazingly strong and resilient, already having your fair share of bumps and bruises. You get into EVERYTHING.
There is no doubt that you are all boy.
And, even better, that you are MY boy.
I saw you in a dream, months and months before you were born. And, when you arrived on May 6, 2013, at 7:48 a.m., my dream came true. William McLean Butler, you are everything I’ve ever wished for. You defied the odds to be born, but here you are – healthy and thriving. You, and your big sister here beside you, challenge me to live in the present and to focus on the little wonders of every day. You, looking at me now with bright blue eyes so much like your big brother, give me new hope that our family’s worst days are behind us and that we will know more joy than sorrow.
This weekend, we celebrated your first birthday at a monster-themed party, which seemed very fitting for you, our littlest monster. It was a joyful day indeed. You may only be one, but it was a party that I waited five long years to plan. And, just like you, it was worth the wait. Will, I can’t wait to see what you do next.
I love you, son. Happy first birthday.
Always and Forever,