I’ve written letters to myself and I’ve written letters to Calvin. Now, on your first birthday, it is time to write to you. I have looked forward to writing this letter for months and I have dreaded it all the same. You see, every time I add words, tears follow closely behind. I have so much to say to you and so much I’d like to leave unsaid. I’d like you to always know now. Now you are my prized possession. Now you are faith personified and right now, the love I have for you could swallow me whole.
But sadly my son there is more I need to say. There are “I’m sorry’s” to be said and there are “thank you’s ” to be thanked. There is advice to give to you and more endearments to dispense. I cannot leave it at what I feel now. I cannot make you wear glasses tinted the color of rose. I cannot because I owe you the truth and because I owe myself forgiveness.
We always wanted you. We knew it the minute your brother was born. We wanted to bring even more love into our family and selfishly I wanted to, again, feel the special gift of a baby growing within me.
What I didn’t bargain for was the worry I held onto while you were waxing. I hope you didn’t feel it. Dear Lord, I hope my anxiety didn’t make its way through the umbilical cord. I didn’t bank on you being born with a little something extra. Yes I assumed it, yes I was pretty sure you would have Down syndrome but when it actually happened; it stunned me. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry I stared at you and tried to will it untrue. I’m sorry I cried about you. I’m sorry I said “I didn’t want this.” I’m sorry my love was sandwiched in between slices of grief and unknown. I still cringe with shame. It still makes me physically ill….especially since we have quite the love affair these days. Somehow, the way we love to snuggle, stare at each other, giggle, kiss and cuddle makes “then” even more painful. What I wouldn’t give for the men in black to zap that memory from me. I’d even let them take some of my good ones as payment. The logical me knows that is impossible. The sensible me knows I didn’t mean it. The part of me that is a realist knows the sadness is microscopic compared to the tremendous love I have now…but I hate that I felt it. The guilt consumes me. I have to wonder, as birthdays pass, will regret ever fade into the fog? Or, will I forever stare into those almonds, wish you happy birthday, and immediately feel the stab that only disgrace can bring? Will remorse always be served with my cake? The truth is that I am a wistful and nostalgic person so, I’ll probably forever remember the day of your birth. I most likely will never be able to let go of what I felt back then. So, I apologize in advance for all excessive adoration you’ll receive on your birthdays… I vow to forever try and make decadence eclipse the dishonor.
More importantly, emphatically, and in shouty capitals: THANK YOU!!!! Thank you so much for being you. Thank you for letting me see what true beauty is. Thank you for opening my disillusioned eyes and showing me that beauty is not a symmetrical face, or a face at all really. You have taught me that the beauty lies within. It’s what you are, what you will be and in the way that you carry yourself. You are beautiful because you are you. People are beautiful because of gifts they give to this world. Gifts of kindness, acceptance, selflessness,sincerity, empathy and compassion. I see more clearly now than I have seen in all 40 years before you. One short year has held for me a lifetime of growth and it is all because you were born. I live a happier existence because of yours. You actually saved my life. Do you know that? Before you, little things that stung made me swollen with the allergy of pain. They consumed me. Anxiety of past pain and fear of future pain made living scary. I was afraid to do it; I numbed it. You made a laden life possible. After you almost died on us, I started really living. Every breath I inhale, I know is a gift, never to be taken for granted. I treasure every sympathetic ear and smile and I dismiss absurdity like fuzz on a sweater. I live every moment with gratitude that urges me to be present. Your past illness causes me current worry ( most times, unnecessarily) but it also allows me to relish worry-free moments incredibly. You, in your short little life, have fixed everything that was wrong with me. Impatience,pettiness, self consciousness. You have healed me. And you have healed so many more people you have met. Our families and our friends are all better people because they know you! It takes my breath away to think about what you have done. I thank God everyday for letting me be your momma and now I thank you. Thank you for picking me, showing me the way and loving me entirely. I feel so lucky. You are a gift dear Judah, with a bow and shimmery paper and over-flowing with goodness inside.
Always know we have your back. Me, your daddy, Calvin, your family; everyone. My guess is you’ll never need it because you are just so darn lovable …. but just in case … we are all here. We will be behind you, gently nudging, lovingly urging , and carefully watching as you grow. You will be tirelessly fought for, effortlessly loved and whole-hardheartedly believed in. You, my son, are worthy and we are all here to watch you soar. So flap those wings little birdie and fly.
I hope that all your trips around the sun are more spectacular than this one was….Happy one year around the sun, one year around our hearts and here’s to three hundred and sixty-five no bad days Bubba. I love you