dear finley: one year.

my sweet, sweet baby.


what a year it's been.  i'm not quite sure how you're already a year old.  you still seem to baby like to me.  not that you aren't doing so much, or so well, and not that you haven't grown to be '... SO BIG!' [your favorite game to play at the moment], but that it's just gone by so fast.  when you first turned one month old, i remember thinking, 'how has it only been one month?!'  hours seemed like days and some days seemed weeks long.  when you wake up every 2 hours to feed a baby, there is no day and night, and days bleed into one another with no breaks.  but somewhere along the way, we found our groove.  we figured it out, you and i, and your daddy and julian.  and it worked so well that we lost track of time.  and here we are.  one year later.

finley, i remember how scared i was when i was pregnant with you.  no one gets two good babies, people told me.  and so i prepared myself, mentally.  you'd be the baby that never slept.  or never ate.  you'd be the baby with colic that cried all the time.  or never let me put him down.   when you were first born and vanessa pulled you out of the water and handed you to me, i clutched you and cried.  i was grateful to hear you cry and so unbelievably thankful for the pain of labor to be over.  but those first moments, you were a stranger to me.  you didn't seem particularly happy to be out of your warm and safe space inside my belly.  no, you were pretty grouchy.  in those first few hours you and i spent together at the birth center, i thought it would be true, that you would not be what people call a 'good' baby.  we thought we'd name you oskar.  oskar the grouch.  but then, we put you in the car and brought you home.  we wrapped you in blankets upon blankets -- i'll never forget sarah walking us out to the car and saying make sure you keep him warm! hats and blankets! -- and made you sleep in hats.  and before long, your noises grew familiar.  your face was a face that i knew.  and you were not grouchy, or upset.  you weren't cranky or fussy.  you were just finley.

and now i know you, fin.  now i know how happy you are.  you are the happiest baby i've ever met.  sure, you'd prefer to be held most of the time.  and when i look back, no, you never slept through the night quite like your brother did.  but it never seemed all that bad, or all that hard, even.  it just seemed like i was the luckiest mama in the world to get to spend all that time attached to you.  preparing dinner with one hand.  sleeping with you on one breast.  it has been my greatest privilege, and i mean that, i honestly do.  when you first came home, julian told us your favorite color was yellow.  sure, we nodded, and smiled to each other at how silly he was being.  but yellow is just like you.  sunny and happy, bright and cheerful.  your smile is infectious.  your laugh is contagious.  you have a temper sometimes -- i think you're a little hothead, like i am --  and you're much more mischievous than your brother is or ever was.  but i have to admit that i love that about you.  

finley, at twelve months old you are full of life.  you walk with any toys you can push around.  you call out mamamamama and dadadadada and love to make silly sounds.  you kiss with an open mouth on command and whenever you want to.  you love your brother something fierce, and i can already see how much you look up to him.  you sign more and all done and milk almost all of the time.  you nap well and you sleep well at night.  you are silly and have the best sense of humor already.  you love to play peekaboo and throw your hands up into the air when we ask, 'how big is finley?'  you climb up and down stairs, you love to sit in your own chair but more often than not you just use it as a ladder to climb up on to your favorite place, the couch.  you love balloons and pom poms and christmas tree ornaments.  you love, love, love elmo and the chipmunks christmas carols, your favorite one being rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.  your favorite food in the world is vanilla yogurt but you love scrambled eggs, turkey and hummus, toast, and rice.  you often times eat more than julian does.  

i've said it before and i'll say it a hundred more times.  you are the best thing that happened to us.  you are the missing piece i never knew we always needed.  you made us a family, and you made my mama heart explode with more love than i knew it could hold. 

it's so bittersweet, this first birthday.  i'm not certain what the future holds for our family, and if there will be any more babies or not.  it's very, very possible you are the last one.  forever the baby, no matter your age.  i'm mourning the loss of these baby days, but at the same time i see what julian is like at two and a half and i can't wait to see you like that.  this next year will be so big for you.  i can't wait to see what you are like as you grow.  it's the best -- and hardest -- part of being a mama.

thank you, fin.  thank you for joining our family and thank you for showing me how much more love i had to give.  thank you for not making me scared of more babies, more messiness, more of everything.  you are my special, sweet baby.  you always will be.

i love you the most, little finley.

your mama.