My Dearest Tuck,
Happy 1st Birthday, sweetheart. From the moment my water broke with you and your brother, you two could not be more different. His labor was long, unpredictable, terrifying and excruciating. Yours was quick, textbook, exhilarating and as painless as one can expect when dispensing a nearly 8 lb melon out of their body. The night you were born I was convinced you were going to be our anniversary baby. After all, it was 10:38 and my contractions were just starting to pick up. There was no way you'd be here before midnight. But boy when they kicked in, did they kick hard. Suddenly remembering how painful your brother's entrance into this world was, I didn't dare wait hours on end before acquiescing and asking for pain meds. When the midwife arrived just a few minutes later to check on me, she commanded I get on the bed from the ball I had been on. 'Does this mean I don't get drugs?!?!' I nervously asked. 'Oh honey, you're having a baby.' Five pushes later at 11:53 there you were, our healthy, plump 36 week old proof of perfection. And ever since, you have remained our joyful, easy-going, roll with the punches child. The baby who has always woken up with a huge gaping smile, even when I inevitably wake you before you're ready. The child who will contentedly entertain himself for an hour if I let you and who regularly coos himself to sleep. You are our breath of fresh air.
You are also our independent one. Where I've quite literally worried Rowan would die if anything ever happened to me (still do most days), you have never needed me for anything other than sustenance these last twelve months. And even then, you efficiently go about your business, catapulting yourself from my lap to resume playing the moment you are finished. It wasn't until you began crawling that I realized you preferred me or at least recognized me as being someone more meaningful than a stranger on the street. Recently you have even taken to snuggling. Your version may look more like a quick headbutt to the collarbone, but I'll take them where I can get them. You have not yet mastered the art of walking, but most days are convinced otherwise and brazenly let go of whatever structure is supporting you, only to meet the hardwood floors with the smack of your bottom or, if you're really lucky, your face. But in keeping with your nature, you always meet my concerned eyes with a proud smile. And my favorite trick? When you intentionally throw an object and then innocently proclaim, 'Uh oh' as if you have absolutely no clue how that spaghetti sauce ended up all over the white cabinets.
Your brother was my first. The one I learned from, continue to learn from, and make my mistakes on. You, my love, are my last. The last diaper I'll ever change. The last all-nighter I'll ever pull. The last back-breaking bundle I'll carry, far past the days your feet learn to carry themselves. And for these I breathe a huge sigh of relief. Relief that we made it this far, for it only gets easier from here, right? And if I'm being candid, relief that I don't have to do it all over again. For it was hard once, let alone twice. But amidst this tiny celebration is an inescapable sadness. The realization that you are my last. The last big blue eyes to stare up at me for minutes on end as you contentedly satiate yourself. The last bare kneed babe to race over hardwood and stone to greet me when I return home. The last tiny body to collapse on my chest in the middle of the night when nothing else with soothe you. For these moments I find myself desperately clinging to you, begging time to stand still and keep you as you are at this very moment, forever. Because in so many ways I'm not ready to let go of it, let go of you. But then I see you and your older brother race around the house playing tag or listen to Rowan's thoughts about the driver of 'Wheels on the Bus' being 'not very nice' when he tells the passengers to move on back, and I am so excited to see who you'll become. To see what perceptions you'll form of this world and the footprints you'll leave on it. Thank you for making your brother happier than I ever imagined possible, filling our home with infectious laughter and making our family perfectly complete.
Happy 1st Birthday, Tuckernuck.
All My Love,