Thursday, November 22, 2012

Year One

A year ago today, Daniel, you were born. A very superficial vein in between your eyebrows and a shock of dark black hair are just some of the features I distinctly remember noticing about you the moment I laid eyes on you. Immediately after you were born, the nurse gave you to me all fresh and covered in new baby goo (eww huh!?) and I just held you, I had never been so happy in my life before that moment! I remember counting each and every one of your 10 perfect fingers and 10 tiny toes, over and over, in awe of how perfect a little person could come out of someone as imperfect as me... but 10 months before, you decided to make me your mama so I won't complain! I was so happy because as much as you looked like your papa and uncle Joey when you were born, you had my toes. You definitely have my toes. My sweet little boy, you cried wail so distinct, as if to say "I'M HERE! LOOK AT ME!" and look at you we did. Your papa, bah-chan and I and when they joined us, your ji-chan and uncle too. A room full of the culmination of love and adoration we all started feeling the moment I discovered you chose us as your family.
The aftermath of you finally coming into this world and into my arms is a bit of a blur for me, I'm sorry to admit. But your papa remembers it vividly, recalling how you were born so quietly and cried only when the doctor did something to make you startle (probably a pinch on your cute little butt or something). You screamed and screamed until you came to me, naked and completely confused by everything except one thing: mama had you right then. Because at that moment, papa said you stopped crying. You knew you were home.
You were an average-sized baby at 7 lbs 10 ounces and 18 inches long, but it was your hair that made you seem so much older than you really were. Soon enough though, at the amazement of everyone who met you, your weight and height were exceeding the charts. At this moment, you look so much older than your 1 year of age not just because of your long dark hair (that we've already cut twice now) but because of your size - if I were to take a guess, since we haven't been to the doctor in a few months and aren't due for another visit until you actually turn 1, I would say you probably weight about 24 pounds and are 33 inches tall.

I know why you grow so well, you are a healthy young boy with a voracious appetite. When we first started giving you solid food at almost 6 months of age, you didn't like it at all. I was so nervous! I thought you would hate solid food forever! But little by little, you got used to having food in your mouth and all of the sudden, I realized you were even trying to feed yourself! Now, you have at least 3 meals a day, snacks in between and you still nurse 4 or 5 times a day - you are a eating, drinking machine! I think what did it for you in the beginning was avocado, boy that was your favorite. Whenever we went out to dinner, we would order you a little plate of avocado and you would be a happy camper. Now, I'm not really sure you have a favorite because you eat everything we give you with great vigor. It makes me so happy to see you thrive and love life through food; the world will be a delicious place for you, Daniel.

You learned to walk early. I remember so vividly the day when we were visiting your Japan ba-chan and ji-chan when you learned to stand on your own for the first time - it was a snowball from there. A month later, you look your first steps at 9 months and you've been racing towards toddlerhood ever since. But I know you aren't in a hurry to grow up because as far away as you dare to venture away from me, you turn to find me and run back just as quick. My little boy you will always be.

You are such a social boy, always smiling at others and so, SO curious. Everything makes you laugh, it's such a joy to hear your happiness spill from your lips. It makes me want to cry, that's how beautiful it is to me. I love the way you grab my face with your little hands and force me to look down at you when I'm wearing you in the baby carrier, the way your eyes search for me in a room to make sure I'm still there. I'll always be there, sweet boy. It reminds me to walk slowly, move meaningfully, look intently at you and cherish you because you don't know about the ugliness of the world yet, rightly so. You only know of the world your papa and I have been able to show you so far and hopefully, it's been enough. I fear that, daily... but when I see how happy and well-rounded you are, I fear a little less and feel much more pride.

We are in for a long, eventful voyage - your life will be long, beautiful, and ever changing; some days, you will think the world of me and then next second, I may be your worst enemy. No matter what the condition, I will always always love you with every single cell in my body, every breath I have taken and will ever take for the rest of my life. You are my pride and joy, every time I look at you I am taken aback by the beauty and perfection that I have been allowed to have as my sweet little boy, my first born. One day, you will know how it feels to fall absolutely, deeply in love with a child of your own... but not too soon, please. Let me enjoy being your mama first.

I love you.


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