To you, my sweet son,
I remember when we found out we were having you. Our first baby, a boy! My heart was nervously pounding because not only was I anxious, but because for the first time you had an identity. All of a sudden we were researching boy names and trying to picture you taking your first steps. Even though you would still be inside me for several months to come, we were ready for our son. We were ready to start our lives with you. The days ahead were filled with excitement, fear, and worry that we wouldn't be enough, that we wouldn't know what to do. Little did I know that when you came bursting into the world and you were placed in my arms for the first time, everything else just perfectly aligned.
Those first days were so long, sometimes unbearable. I had such a hard time getting a grip on motherhood and didn't understand why I was struggling so much. Everyone told me that the days were long and the years were short, and I would think to myself how that just wasn't true. Now, here we are, on the day of your first birthday, and that phrase hit me like a ton of bricks. Lately you've been doing your best to becoming independent. You've been learning to entertain yourself, sleep in your own crib, and most importantly, you are trying to take steps. So on your first birthday, as I sit here crying wondering how the last year went by so fast, I decided to write down a few things I will continue to share with you in the years to come.
"You is kind." Even at one you have such a kindness about you that I can't explain. You always know when someone needs a hug or a kiss and you take it upon yourself to make them feel better. You genuinely light up everyone that you meet because you are so smiley, so happy, so alive. You should know that everyone you meet shares with us that you are the happiest baby they have ever met. I hope as you grow that happiness and true light never fades, because the world could use so much more of that.
"You is smart." You are strong-willed and determined. I hope as you grow you are constantly reminded of this so that it may shape you into the man you will become. You are intuitive. I hope as the years go by you listen to your instinct and make the right choices. Life is not easy, people can be cruel, and the world is not always fair. Trust yourself. Trust that you were raised to know better and make good choices. Be smart. Remember that every action has a reaction and that every action has a consequence. Treat women with respect. Treat them the way you treat your mother. Watch your daddy. See how he treats me, how he treats others, look up to him. Look up to your grandpas. Surround yourself with men that inspire you and make you want to be a better person. How you act will shape the man you become, the husband you become, and one day, the father you become. Trust Jesus. It is almost never easy to do this. Life is so hard sometimes, and trusting His plan seems even harder. I should know. If we didn't trust His plan, you wouldn't be the sweet and precious little boy you are right now.
"You is important." This is something you need to carry with you for the rest of your life. YOU are important. You are worthy. You are enough. The world is going to tell you otherwise, don't let them. You are strong, you are capable, you are diligent. You will be raised as a man of God and with that truth your options are limitless. With hard work, persistence, and a good attitude, you will go so much farther than you think. When things get hard, come home. You will always have a place here. You are never alone. Family is everything, and without it life is even harder. Embrace change, because it will come and you will wonder why. Accept what you can't change. Love hard. How you love others, how you treat them, will shine brighter than any other success you achieve in this lifetime. Call home. Let us know how you are. Let us pick you up, cheer you on, lift you higher.
Most importantly though, you should know that you are so loved. As I watch your dad put you down for a nap, I can't help but think about the day we brought you home. We were so scared, so nervous about what was coming next. Yet, a whole year passed, and you have shown us the true meaning of happiness. You. You are our purpose. We love you high as the sky, baby boy. Happy birthday!