A letter to my one year old.
We’ve shared a lot over the past year – watching you learn, take in, ingest (literally, in the case of a few pieces of dog food and a bunch of leaves), the world around you. Your insatiable curiosity will undoubtedly be the death of me, and I will do my best not to stifle it out of my own fears.
There are a few things I’ve said to you this past year, in the heat of the proverbial (hormonal) moment, that I feel I should take some time to clarify. No more sugar-coating for you, kid. It’s time you hear it from me straight, and get a few things straightened out in that oddly perfectly round head of yours.
“You are my everything.”
You are not my everything. God, could you imagine? What a bad mom I’d be. What a boring person. I existed for forty years and thirteen days before you breathed your first gorgeous breath. My everything is made up of a million connections and past loves and learning myself and all the people who came before you and after you. What’s true is that, when you came, my everything got better. So no, baby boy, you are not my everything. You are the thing that makes everything more meaningful, makes everything make sense. And I’m so grateful to you for that.
“You are the love of my life.”
This is actually a weird thing to say to a baby, and so I apologize for making it weird. I get pretty caught up in you sometimes. But, in the spirit of being PC, I should probably let you know that your dad is technically the love of my life, in the true sense of the expression. I hope that he and I are already showing you what life-level love looks like, in the way we treat one another and, by extension, you and your brother. I hope you find your own life love, after lots of at-this-time-in-my-life loves. I hope you love well. It’s the best. And I hope you’re one of those little boys who says he wants to marry his mom, but not one of those grown men who says his mom is his best friend. We’ll figure out where the line is and make sure we don’t cross it.
“You are perfect.”
Ridiculous. You poop your pants and bump into walls and call me dada. But you’re about as close to it as anyone I’ve ever met, so you’ve got that going for you.
“You’re my favorite person.”
Okay, this one is true some of the time. Probably a lot of the time. And the rest of the time you’re a little shit and I’m not as sad as I pretend to be when I have to leave for work in the morning.
“I miss you.”
Yes, yes I do understand that’s an odd thing to say to someone who’s right in front of you. Climbing on you, oftentimes. Curled into you having a bottle and a story, having a moment. What I mean is, with each day that you grow, the baby I have learned to love slips a little further away. And I miss that baby, especially because he’ll be my only one. But the good news is, with each day that you grow, you become more and more a person I can’t get enough of. A person I long to spend time with and be around. So I’ll keep missing the you that was here yesterday, even as I keep falling in love with the you that you become.
“I want to chew on you.”
This one is actually true. I read something once, I think, although it might’ve been something I wrote myself so I’m not sure if that counts, that scientifically people get aggressive around aggressively cute things. Or something like that. But I do want to chew on you sometimes because you are that aggressively cute. My friend’s sister saw a baby so cute she wanted to punch it. So it could be worse.
This could go on and on. I say a lot of nutty stuff. But I think you get the idea. Sometimes I speak in hyperbole, sometimes I exaggerate, and sometimes I outright lie. That is your mother. I say what I think in the moment that I think it, even if in the next moment I have to try and take it back because it turns out once I said it I realized I didn’t actually mean it. I say how I feel. It drives some people crazy. I don’t care. I hope you grow into a person who can say how he feels. I hope you get that from me.
One whole year we’ve made it through. We’ve done pretty well so far – it’s been a hell of a trip. Bear with me, kid. I’m learning right along with you. Sorry for saying weird stuff, and I promise to try and clean up my act before you can actually understand me. Oh Noodle. How I look forward to what’s next. How I appreciate who you are, and who you are becoming.
How I love you Emmett James.