My sweet baby boy,
You’re not such a baby anymore, my little man. You’ve already grown up so much in the past year, and now, when I look back at those first photos that we took of you, I can only marvel at how much you’ve changed in the past year while always managing to look like you. When I look at those photos, look at your big eyes set in such a tiny, perfect face, look at your clenched fists attached to arms that you could not yet control, look at your adorable fingers and toes, so skinny and long with not an ounce of meat on them yet, I marvel at how much you still look like you. A year later, your face is not so tiny, your arms are completely in your control, and your fingers and toes give way to arms and legs protected by the sweetest layer of baby fat. You have changed so much in one year, but when I look at you, I still see the sweet baby boy that I held for the first time a year ago.
You’re not such a baby anymore, my little munchkin. You are not so helpless as you once were. A year ago, I could leave you on the floor, propped up on a boppy or sitting in your bouncy chair, while I walked from room to room, cleaning, preparing meals, working on various tasks throughout our apartment. I could leave you because I knew you were safe, because I knew that you couldn’t go anywhere without my help. There was very little that you could do without my help back then. You couldn’t feed yourself without me holding your bottle for you. You couldn’t fall asleep without me bouncing you in my arms or in your chair. You couldn’t sit without support, move without assistance.
But you’re not such a baby anymore, my big boy. A year later, you are not so helpless; you are so much more independent. I cannot leave you on the floor without knowing that you probably will not stay still. You can sit by yourself, move by yourself, play by yourself. And when you’re done playing by yourself, you can come find me, and I can come play with you. I cannot move from room to room without knowing that you will be with me; I cannot clean or prepare meals without knowing that you will be underfoot through it all. You have become my constant little companion, my little assistant in all things. One day, you will want to be just like Daddy, but for now, you are content to be with your Mama, to do what your Mama does. There are so many things that you can do for yourself now. You can feed yourself, put yourself to sleep. You can entertain yourself (albeit, not for very long), and when you want company, you can seek it out yourself. You are such a big boy now.
It has been a year since I held you in my arms for the first time. You seemed so fragile back then. I was so scared that I was going to break you, with your tiny little limbs and inability to support your head. A year later, and you’re such a big boy. You’re so strong now- Daddy can swing you around and around while you scream in glee, and Mama just loves to watch you as you push your walker around our apartment and walk from one piece of furniture to the next. You’ll be walking in no time. And then you’ll be running. And then you’ll be dancing, and jumping, and skating, and doing countless other things with your little legs. Because you’re not such a baby anymore.
It’s true, my sweet little boy. You’re not such a baby anymore. Your first birthday is bringing so many changes with it, changes that remind me daily that you’re not an infant anymore. You’re officially a toddler now. You can drink toddler formula and milk now. You can have a bite of Mama’s chocolate cake, or some of Daddy’s cinnamon roll. You’re eating big boy food now, and you can eat what Mama and Daddy are eating too. You have to put shoes on now when we go outside, because you want to stand and play at the park. There are so many things that you can do now that you couldn’t do even a month ago, and whenever I see you attempt something new- whether you’re taking your first steps or uttering your first words- I am reminded that you’re not such a baby anymore.
But you’ll always be my baby, John. You’ll always be my sweet baby boy, even when you’re all grown up. You’ll always be my munchkin, my little prince, my big boy. Even when you’re not a baby anymore. Even when you’re not a toddler. When you’re a pre-school student, an elementary school student, a middle school student. When you’re a teenager, a young man. No matter what you do, no matter what you become, you will always be my sweet little boy. When you go off to your first day of school, lunchbox in hand and a big smile on your face. When you leave for your first date, after your Daddy reminds you for the millionth time to behave like the gentleman that I already know you will be. When you fall in love for the first time, and when you come home with your first broken heart. When you graduate from high school, waving your diploma proudly in the air for your Mama and Daddy to see. Whether you go on to get married and raise a family or you become a priest, whether you study to become a doctor, a teacher, or something else entirely, you will always remain my sweet baby boy. You are the light of my life, and I will love you forever.
Mary Help of Christians, pray for us!