Dear Baby CJ, This year, we celebrated your very first birthday. You looked around with a little confused look on your face as a lot of people sang happy birthday to you, momma blew out your candle and lots of people cheered.
You weren't really sure what was going on, but dude you really liked your cake.
Since you don't really get this birthday thing - I thought I'd let you know what the rest of us were thinking about. See, a year before that - this was our very first glimpse of you:
Your daddy was bringing you down the hall to your momma, and we were all huddled in a whispering excited bunch just waiting to see your little face for the first time. There was a lot of hugging, a lot of kissing every little inch of bare skin not wrapped up in a blanket, lots of tears, and lots of introductions.
From the very first, you were never tiny. You were strong and solid and so beautiful. You had a headful of red hair that captivated us.
Did I mention all the kissing and crying? There was a lot of that. Everybody held you with gentle hands, watery eyes and very very close to our hearts.
Your Uncle Nick and I took turns holding you (trust me, it's a big deal. I don't share well, and Uncle Nick was still getting used to holding babies).
Okay - got that background? So fast forward a year and through all the singing and cheering and cake eating - we were all remembering that. We were all thinking about how BIG you've gotten.
We were thinking about how you really love to watch people around you. How you like to take it all in and how your little forehead furrows while you try to work it out.
Right now, you really like trucks. I had lunch with you and your momma recently, and we sat across the street from a construction site. You made lots of oohing noises, and were chatting up a storm about the huge trucks. Your favorite was when you saw the firetruck go by.
You've got this walking thing down by now. You still toddle a little bit every now and then, but I've heard you like dancing these days too.
Your dad really likes to send us video's of you. We watch them immediately and want to hug you through cyber space. I love having the ability to stay connected that way with you as you're growing.
You're kinda obsessed with phones and sunglasses right now. You like to wear sunglasses even through they don't stay on your little face really well. Momma probably has to clean her's off a lot :)
Your momma told me that you've started to play the dramatic emotional card lately. How on earth did you learn that?? It really amuses me.
While you were happily eating birthday cake, we all thought to ourselves about how in just one year, so much has happened with you. You've learned so much. You're becoming a little man already.
We were all thinking about how much your mom and dad really love you. I'll be honest with you, it's still an adjustment sometimes to know that my sister is a momma first now. She lives and breathes you, little man. She tries so hard every single moment of every single day to make life an experience for you. And really, be patient with her. She's learning the names of trucks and dinosaurs along with you - sometimes she might need some help there. And your dad? Little dude, he works really really hard for you and your mom. He loves you so much and he'll teach you a lot in life.
We were all holding our hopes and dreams for you very close in our hearts. We wish many many beautiful things for your life - I'm sure the exact details differ from person to person, but my wish? My wish is that you laugh a lot. My wish is that you know you are loved. My wish? My wish is that you dream very big.
My wish is that you will eventually come to know that this family unit that surrounds you is really a safety net. My wish is that you will always remember to ask questions, and find answers. I know that your life will be full and blessed, and my wish is that you do everything possible to take advantage of that. My wish is for joy to live in your heart. My wish is for your horizon to be endless.
My wish is that you'd stop growing and forever be our "little man" :) But since we can't have that, my wish is that you'll always be okay with lipstick kisses, hello and goodbye hugs, and hearts full of dreams and wishes for you. I love you very, very much, and can't wait to see everything that you do until your next birthday.
Happy Birthday, little man.