Dear Benjamin,
Today you are a year old. 365 days of laughter and tears, 365 days of poopy diapers and more than a few days of 2am wake ups.

The day we took you home from the hospital we were tired and terrified and excited. You were so tiny, so fragile, so precious. Your head was unusually dinosaur looking (think: Coneheads or a T-Rex head) but it really was love at first sight. Well, it was love, but it came with a huge amount of terrifying responsibility.

One of my favorite memories was from the moment we took you inside the house. I came in and greeted Lucky, petting him and reassuring him that he was loved. Then we introduced him to the “newest member of the pack” – you. I hope that when you’re old enough to read this you’re also old enough to remember Lucky. He has been your bestest friend this past year. He would prance around you when you laid in the floor as a babe and at night time he would snuggle with us at the foot of the bed. When you were colicky, he would walk along side us as we wore a path through the living room, dining room, and kitchen. If we were rocking you he would lay at our feet, or just outside your door. He gives you kisses unconditionally and with fervour. Although those first few months were mainly one-way affection the scales have slowly shifted. Now you drop your lunch for him, you crawl after him, and you like to “pet” him. Sometimes your petting is more like hitting him and almost poking his eyes out, he doesn’t seem to mind too much.

I love how independent you are becoming. You will play by yourself for minutes at a time and sometimes I watch you, with your face in total concentration, and I can’t help but smile. You’ll look around to make sure I’m nearby and then go right back to what it is you were doing. Here recently it’s been blowing bubbles in the pool, or banging pots in the kitchen floor, or chasing the dog around the coffee table. You throw yourself wholeheartedly into whatever it is you’re doing and I know part of that is just being a baby, but I can’t help but hope that some of that is a glimpse of the passion you’ll feel later on in life.

I hope the clingy flailing around and screeching when you don’t get your way is something you grow out of.

You’ve started taking steps here and there. The other day when you walked in the kitchen to me I was so proud of you!! I swept you up and covered you in kisses… and you did the usual “ok, ew Mom, I get it, let me down now..”

The good outweighs the bad, but sometimes there is bad. Not everything is roses and butterflies. You occasionally have bouts of insanity where you scream and yell about… everything. Sometimes I just want you to go away for 5 minutes so I can have some peace and quiet. Sometimes you’re teething so bad your fingers are permanent fixtures in your mouth and you’re crying and there’s nothing we can do but hold you as you cry. And when I spend time working on your meal just to see you unceremoniously dump it upside down on the floor…. well sometimes I want to thunk you in the forehead for that.

You love speed. Scared me half to death the other day when scooting down the stairs… you were having so much fun and going SO fast and then lost your balance and tumbled backwards. Thank God your Nanny was behind you to catch you! I hope you keep your love of speed… but gain some caution too. There is such a thing as too fast!

You hate sitting still… which makes diaper time a wrestling match I’ll be glad to say goodbye to.

I love you in the morning. There’s this period in between when you wake up and when we go into your room that you have a conversation with yourself. You talk and squeal and play, content to simply be. It’s hard to be upset when you’re that happy. For that matter it’s hard to be mad at you at all, even when you’re acting cranky and screaming and throwing yourself onto the concrete because I know it’s just a phase, and this too shall pass, and I kind of cherish the bad because it makes the good that much better.

I love hanging out with you outside. If you had your way, we’d spend all day out there. Even in the heat of the day you want to be outside in the sunshine or the pool. Winter time is going to devastate you.

When I was a kid I used to dream about having a family. I never could quite picture it because I hadn’t met you or your Daddy yet. Now that I have, I realize I didn’t dream big enough. I never imagined your kinship with Lucky. I never imagined the heart wrenching feeling when you dive head first towards the edge of a brick in front yard. I never imagined laughing so hard when you decide that anything you can fit your bottom in – whether it be a dog bowl or a bird bath – is fair game as your personal swimming pool. I never imagined how it feels when you wrap your arms around me or when you scream MAMAMAMA from the other room.

I knew having a family would be an exercise of love; I don’t know that I fully realized the adventure that accompanies it.

I guess what I’m trying to say, Benjamin, is that I love you and I’m glad you’re in my life.
Your Mamamamamama