One year ago, your Daddy and I were anxiously awaiting your arrival. We knew our lives were about to change forever. We weren't really sure what to expect, but we knew becoming parents would teach us to grow, learn, and love (and yes, worry) like we never had before.
Looking back, the months have flown by and you've changed so quickly that I have shed tears today just wishing I could relive some of our "early" days and weeks together. And yet, while time has slipped by, it also seems like you've been a part of our family for much longer than twelve months.
Motherhood has been both harder and more joyful than I could have ever imagined. On the days when I just followed you around the house and met your basic needs, I admit that I questioned my purpose. Is this really what I had worked my whole life to do? Did I really finish grad school and seminary to change diapers and talk "baby talk?" Where is my big ministry?
And the Lord clearly showed me...in your grin, in your seemingly comprehending expressions, in your tears... that I am serving a mighty purpose right now. I am loving you and caring for you the best way I know how so that you can grow up in a home that protects you, find support in a family that loves you, and come to know the God that created you. The knowledge I learned in seminary will aid me in teaching you to love Him with all your mind, heart, and strength, and to have a solid theology. The longs days I worked in my career prepared me to handle unexpected changes and trials and to push through hour after hour, even when I am tired. For years, the Lord has been preparing me, in big and small ways, to be your Mother. And I am so thankful for that privilege.
Over the last month, you have changed even more! I have learned now that daily lessons and discoveries are the norm.
You have started WALKING!!! Your first real steps were taken at your birthday party. (I think the sugar from the cake gave you the boldness and courage to do it!) Just a few steps at a time, but you're taking more every day. YAY!! But let's stick to walking for awhile before we try running.
You have become attached to several different items. To start, the dog leash. You carry it around like a security blanket and hold the metal clasp to your cheeks. We almost got you your own for your birthday but decided you'd want this one anyway. (Just for the record, in case your memory fails you down the road...you DO have toys!!)
Your favorite morning ritual is to crawl into our bathroom, open the bottom drawer, and pull out the travel sized contact solution and toothpaste. You'll carry these two items in your hands as you crawl around the rest of the house. I don't understand the appeal, but I am usually just pleased that you're entertained. :)
If you're in the right mood, you love to ham it up. Especially for the camera. One evening, you looked up, posed, and smiled a huge smile every time I said "cheese!" This is your pal Ben who is six days older than you. It's been fun to watch ya'll grow together!
Back to items of attachment....you are fiercely passionate about your paci, and you carry this lamb around with you when you don't have the leash. I'm hoping you learn to like your loveys just as well because they're smaller and easier to transport. :)
Jackson has become much more tolerant of your "petting."
One of your favorite games is to stand at the door and wave hello or goodbye to any visitors. You also like to close doors. You know the doorknobs open the doors because you reach for them, but you're not quite tall enough. (For that, I'm glad!)
You have really developed a love for books, and you'll often sit in my lap for 30 minutes at a time while we read. The only bad thing...we're often reading the SAME book for those 30 minutes! Below are your two favorite books, and you cry at the end and wave them in my face until I start from the beginning again. You smile when I turn certain pages, so I think you have the stories memorized. :)
You have cut three more teeth for a grand total of seven. Unfortunately, you have picked up biting as of late. We're working on that.
You have learned how to go DOWN the stairs. And you have learned to dance! When I sing "shake it like a polaroid picture" from Outkast's song "Hey Ya," you'll shake your arms and fists and say "shaka shaka!" :)
At your one-year appt, your stats were:
Weight 23 lbs (50th percentile)
Length 31 1/4" (90th percentile)
You really seem to understand us now, and you'll respond to certain commands (if you're in the mood to). You can open and close doors, go find a book or particular toy, lie down, give us a hug or kiss, etc. You babble A LOT! And you've actually said quite a few words when repeating me or Daddy. But usually those words only come out once. :)
We are having more and more fun with you as we're able to communicate, interact, and play. We can't wait to see what this next year has in store!
Happy FIRST Birthday, Carter!!