Letter to Max at one year

Dear Max,

You’ve been one-year-old for a week and a half now. I meant to have this letter ready for your first birthday, but it’s been so hard for me to figure out what to say. You mean so much to me. (Just typing that sentence brought tears to my eyes.) I can’t put into words how amazing this past year has been, how much you’ve enriched my life, and how much you’ve helped me become the person I want to be.

Maybe I should talk a little about what I want for you, the person I hope to help you become. I want you to be happy and kind and self-sufficient and to know who you are and what and whom you love. I want you to be brave in your pursuits and to learn, as I have, that there are many, many ways to be successful in this life and many of them have nothing to do with money. Oh, how I want you to be brave and confident and to love yourself. I have spent so much of my life in fear, little man, and I am only just now learning how to embrace my imperfections and to just jump in and try and make mistakes and learn from them. That is largely thanks to motherhood, so thank you.

I guess the preceding paragraph sounds a bit cliche. These are probably the things most parents want for their children. Maybe I should be more specific, but I just don’t have a specific vision for you, such as being a doctor or being President someday. I really just want you to live your life in happiness and peace. The only specific wish I thought of just now is that you will at least be kind to animals and maybe even love them, as I do. That smack in the face you gave Fort yesterday isn’t a great start, but I think you had good intentions.

Just know that your father and I love you so, so much. We fairly burst with it at times. We spend time at night discussing how special you are. You are such a thinker. You like to sit back and examine things and figure them out before you jump in. We took both swim and music lessons this summer and you were quiet and contemplative most of the time in both.

You are not walking yet, but you are very close. You practice everyday and flirt with letting go and taking off. You’ve fallen a few times, but, true to your cautious nature, you seem to be waiting until you’re pretty sure you have it down before you go for it.

Elmo seems to be your first celebrity “crush”. You get a smile on your face every time you see him. In fact, you were fussing today and you stopped every time you saw the tiny Elmo face on your washcloth.

Your favorite book is “Llama Llama, Red Pajama”. It is the only book you actually look at the entire time we’re reading it and you even lean towards the next page in anticipation. We think you like the vivid colors in the illustrations. I bought you a Llama Llama doll last Friday and you carried it all around Barnes and Noble, only parting with it so I could pay for it. You did seem just as enamored of the price tag you were chewing on as the doll, but you seem to love the doll now, even without the tag.

We have a sniffing game that developed out of my method of sniffing your blanket every night to ensure it’s clean enough for you to sleep with. It’s gone from me sniffing the length of the blanket to tossing it over my head and sniffing exaggeratedly around the room until I get to you and give you a big kiss through the blanket. You always smile in anticipation when I approach your crib at night and you laugh so hard.

You get laughing fits where you laugh silently, your face turns red, and your whole body shakes. Sometimes you laugh so hard you get upset, but it’s mostly worth it to see and hear those adorable giggles.

You love the windchimes Daddy hung over your changing table a few days ago. Grandma, Aunt Pat, and I like to believe that Grandma Lowder is talking to us when we hear windchimes and Grandma gave me those as a college graduation present. I love to see the rapture on your face when they ring. I am sure Grandma Lowder loves you very much and is watching over both of us and it means so much to me to see any little part of her in your life.

You’re not really talking yet, except for “Mama”, “Dada”, and possibly “No”. (We’re not sure about that last one.) You can imitate sounds wonderfully and have been able to since you were only a few months old. I swear I’ve heard you say “Uh-huh” a few times and even “cat”.

We bought many musical instruments for you for your birthday and you love them. You’ve been playing with your lollipop drum so much and you finally made a connection between mallet and drum yesterday. You were holding the drum backwards, but you still did it and were so proud of yourself.

There are so many adorable attributes I could add to this snapshot of you at one year. I don’t want to forget anything, but I know I will, even if that sounds impossible now. However, I will never forget how you delight me everyday and make me feel like the luckiest mommy on earth. I love you, Max Max sugar smacks. 🙂

Love, Mama

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