You are one year old today, which is a pretty good trick, since your birthday was supposed to be in May. . . Your arrival a year ago, nine weeks early, turned our lives upside down in more ways than one. We'd been waiting for you anxiously, but also willing you to stay put and grow bigger just a little longer. You arrived, small but strong, and I was so relieved to see you safe and sound.
Just over four pounds at birth, you needed extra time to grow and learn to do the things that are important for babies - sucking, swallowing, and maintaining your body temperature. You needed time, and special care, and so you spent the first 30 days of your life in the NICU. The day I went home from the hospital, having to leave you behind, was one of the hardest days of my life. I knew you were in wonderful hands, that I could call to check on you anytime, that I would visit you every day, but there are no words to describe the heartache of driving away from that building without you.
When you did come home, in April, I was terrified that you were not ready, that something would go wrong and there wouldn't be a team of nurses and doctors at the ready. But you were just fine. You slept and ate and grew, while Daddy and I stumbled around in a sleep deprived haze for a few weeks. You were small enough that we had to wake you up in the middle of the night to feed you. You loved to be held and any upset could be calmed almost instantly by scooping you up and wrapping you up against my chest. (A year later this is still, mostly, true.)
For any parent or child who might wonder, I can now confidently assure the world that it is possible to love a second baby just as much as a first. I loved you even before you were born and you make my heart grow bigger every day. You are a marvel to me, little man, and I will never grow tired of watching the unfolding of the person you you are becoming.
You are taking your time to learn all the baby tricks like crawling and waving and I find that it is easy to give myself to the anxiety and worry about you. And then you grin your huge grin and remind me that we all do things in our own time and that I should let go of my worry and just enjoy the beautiful baby that you are. You are teaching me a new level of patience, Michael, a lesson I'm sure I have needed to learn. You are helping me appreciate things as they are. You demand that I live in the present.
You are a JOY Michael. Calm and happy. You go with the flow. You have a gentle spirit. You delight in the people who love you, especial Harper, Daddy, and I. The way you quiet when I sing to you, squeal with glee when Daddy walks through the door, laugh at Harper's antics, you remind all of us how to love and appreciate each other. Harper likes to say that you love her best because she can always make you smile. But I think you are already in on the secret of parents' hearts, that it is possible to love many people very, very much.
You are a gift to everyone who knows you. I am so privileged to be your mother. I promise to do my best to help you grow up, if you promise not to do it too quickly.
I love you Michael.