Can I tell you a secret?
Alright, maybe not a secret, but surely a moment in time worthy of notation.
First birthdays are my favorite. I know, I know, I say they’re all my favorite, but hear me out.
The ease in which certain milestones sweep us up can be so predictable, it’s almost cliché. They lay out before us and we respond like those who preceded us. Even when we think we won’t, we do. Even when we think we’ll be different, we aren’t. There are so many previous versions of myself still scratching their heads in utter amazement thinking, huh, I would not have seen that coming.
So many of the best turns have been the left ones.
I used to think to myself, why do people cry on the first day of childcare drop off or the first day of kindergarten? What’s all the fuss about? But then you find yourself driving your very quiet SUV away with an empty car seat and damn it if those tears don’t unexpectedly sneak up on you.
And, not only do you cry on the first day, but then you find yourself all verklempt on the last day; because now you’ve become friends with your little people’s teachers and you’ve seen them blossom under their care. And you know you’ll miss the morning chats about life, the weather and that silly thing your kid does.
Your oldest climbs aboard a big yellow school bus armed with his spider-man backpack and a red apple tag that reads, Jack Ketterhagen, K5. Somehow you feel indescribably full and hollow at the same time. There is a shallow curve in your heart where they’ve been nipping at your knees day in and day out for years and now they bravely survive a whole day with their own friends in their own world, and it’s a world away from yours.
But, I digress.
First birthdays though, they are a treasured milestone that literally take the cake for me. They are as much a celebration of the child as they are a celebration of 1 year in, becoming the newest version of your family. It’s a tremendously, transformative year no matter if it’s your first or last baby.
Don’t tell the firstborns, or the middle children, but those last babies just gotta know they are pure candy-coated goodness with an extra helping of frosting. Speaking as the baby of our family, I can tell you, it’s good to be the baby.
One year is such a poignant milestone for parents to bookmark, for recall on the days when your 13 year-old needs deodorant and is much taller than you and has eaten the last of the frozen pizzas.
What a sweet trio of jewels I have bookmarked, already set in this life’s length of chain.
Jack, Jamison and now, Jonah.
Can you believe he is 1?
And, 1 year in, sometimes feels a bit like survival – figuring out how your new family unit is going to run.
Babies are a whirlwind to be loved in the most tender way. If tiny fingers wrapped around your own finger don’t bring you to your knees in humble awe of life and creation, then surely a heavenly, sleepy baby nestled in the crook of your arms or sprawled against the warmth of your chest might do you in.
They don’t sleep, they want what they want when they want it, but they give dividends via shy smiles, big giggles, peek-a-boo dimples and poopy diapers that don’t always, always travel up their backs.
So, yes, let there be cake and ridiculously cute birthday hats to celebrate! My husband told me it looked like we could put on a wedding with all the blue and white I had up, as if he was somewhat surprised by the crazy party loving girl he married. Ha, we were ready for anything. And, if someone did decide to drop by unexpectedly to share vows, we already had something borrowed, blue, old and new.
You complete us. We are so thankful you are ours. We can’t wait to see the plans God has for you.
Love, Mama, Daddy, Jack & Jamison.
p.s. It was hot the day of your party. Fry an egg on the sidewalk, work up a sweat just breathing hot kind of day. Good thing these kids knew how to cool down. Borrowed bouncy castle + sprinkler + copious amounts of stolen juice boxes when mom & dad weren’t looking = Summer fun!
Happy 1st Birthday Jonah bear!
the mama bear