A year ago today you took your first breath. You didn’t know it then, you still don’t know it now, but that first breath changed my life forever. If I could live forever in the moment that you were first placed on my chest, I would. But that moment only lasted a short while, and my initial feeling of joy turned into fear.
Looking at you, so precious and innocent, I knew that I was responsible for your place in this chaotic world. How would I be able to prepare you, when I wasn’t prepared for myself?
You were the first thing in this life that I was actually proud of. The truth is, son, before you I was content with mediocrity. When you came into this world, I knew mediocrity was no longer an option. Life was a blank slate full of opportunities and possibilities, and I had to be the one to show you that. I wanted to be better for you.
You showed me each and every day what the meaning of loving someone unconditionally is. Even though everyone said you were an “easy” baby, you were the biggest challenge of my life. You kept me on my toes and showed me what the actual definition of exhaustion was. I was so tired, but chose to stare at you while you slept, instead of using that time to sleep. Each day you showed me something new. Either you grew physically, made a new sound, or showed me that I could love you even more than the day before.
I didn’t quite realize it then, but we were growing at the same rate. I took to the gym so that you would see and experience healthy habits at the youngest age possible. I didn’t realize that most of the mental and emotional benefits far exceeded the physical ones.
I would place you in your bouncer seat. You would sleep mostly, but sometimes you would wake up long enough to watch a quick set. Having you there was all the motivation I needed to keep going on the toughest of days. When I felt like giving up, you never let me.
My favorite memories are our runs together. You were such an awesome copilot. You will never understand what having you on those runs did for me, but I would have never completed them without you. You’re the reason why I crossed the finish line at the marathon, too.
I could go on and on about all the little things you have done for me, but I don’t need to write an entire book. You have taught me more in your first year of life than I have learned in my first twenty-four years. Every goal that I set, big or small, all stems from you.
When I felt broken down and defeated, the thought of your sweet toothless smile brought me to my feet. The times when I persevered, I owe to you as well.
I’ll never say it to you in person, because I’ll be your mother, but you raised me as much as I’ll raise you.
Thank you, my sweet boy. I love you.