Andrew turns one tomorrow. Tonight I kissed my baby boy one last time as an 11-month-old and he’ll wake up as a one-year-old. I wish I could say that I’m excited by it, but I just can’t. The thought of this day has been bringing on mixed emotions for months.
Let’s get this out of the way first — I have a beautiful, healthy little boy. I know that I’m blessed to have him. Of course there are a lot more real problems that I could be facing right now. But today, this feeling is real and it hurts.
Why didn’t anyone warn me birthdays would be so hard? I’ve seen so many articles about the untold truths about pregnancy and newborns, but no one ever mentions how hard it is to watch your baby approach his first birthday.
Andrew’s my third baby and most likely my last. Everything from his pregnancy, birth, and nursing experience has been easier than the first time around. I was able to bond with him earlier than with my girls. He won me over from the first time I laid eyes on him. He’s certainly a “mama’s boy” and I’m more than okay with that.
This past year has been hectic. There have moments when it felt like too much to handle. I’ve had more sleepless nights than I can count. There have been tears – from all of us. I’ve yelled more than I care to admit. I’ve forgotten to brush my teeth. I’ve rotated between three pairs of yoga pants. It hasn’t all been pretty — but I’ve loved having a baby. I love the baby stage. I love the cuddles. I love the toothless smiles and coos. I love all the milestones and seeing their personalities start to shine through. I love holding a sleeping baby in my arms and realizing I created something absolutely perfect. If my body would let me I’d have a zillion babies, or just one more.
I’ve been through the birthday thing before. This is actually the fourth birthday I’ll be celebrating with my kids. Each time is difficult, but I think the first hurts the worse. I think the pain comes from feeling like they’re growing up too fast. Several times this year I’ve wanted to press pause. I’ve wanted to bottle up the feeling of his cuddles and keep him that small forever.
I’ve tried to delay things. I kept the baby swing out for too long. I didn’t switch his clothes until he was bursting through the seams. I tried to discourage him from crawling or pulling up. I have no plans to stop nursing. There is a sense of denial that the first birthday is approaching. I don’t want to give up his “baby-ness.”
I hope I’m not alone in this feeling. I hope other mom’s have felt this way too. Chris can’t relate. He says he likes Andrew more this age. I can absolutely see what he’s saying. I’m loving how Andrew has really begun to feel as part of the family. I love watching him master new skills every day. He’s really becoming a big boy, but I think part of the problem is exactly that, he’s becoming a big boy.
So what’s the cure? I don’t have the answer. What I do know is that he’ll wake up tomorrow morning and everything will be okay. He’ll be excited by the sight of balloons and pancakes with special sprinkles on top. We’ll read On The Night You Were Born while he tries to wiggle out of my arms. I’ll sing him Happy Birthday just like I did on the day I gave birth to him. I’ll stare at pictures from his birth with tears in my eyes knowing that he’ll never be that tiny again. It will be okay. He’ll always be my baby.
I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you always,
As long as I’m living,
My baby you’ll be.
– Happy Birthday, Andrew James!