Graham Bennett, you are one today. Did you know that after the age of one, you are no longer considered an infant? This means that I am no longer the mother of a baby, nor will I ever be again. This stage of life — the bouncers, the swaddles, the pacifiers — is over. You’re starting to take steps and wean off of bottles, and it won’t be long before we’re in full on toddler mode, and the baby years are yet another fading memory.
It’s hard for me to come to terms with this finality. Sometimes I think that I could have a million babies, but other days I know that my plate and heart are already filled to the brim. I feel in my gut that you were meant to be the very last, and the one who makes our family complete. Did you know that you do so in the best possible way?
We have a tradition in our family where each child gets a special day with us on their birthday. Today we took you to breakfast and to ride the train at Zilker Park — just me and your Dad — while your brother and sister were at school. At about 80 degrees and sunny, it was absolute perfection. We talked about how fast this year has flown and how amazing we think you are. We took the time to marvel at your babbling, your pointing, your quirks, and your luscious red hair. You are so delicious, G, and are truly the love of our lives. How did we ever live without you?
The decision to have a third and final baby was not one that we took lightly. We agonized for quite awhile and were apprehensive when it happened before we were completely ready. Would we have ever been ready? I can’t tell you how many sleepless nights I had, riddled with anxiety about whether or not I’d be able to love you the way you deserved, or if I’d be able to handle being a mom of three. But you, Graham — you fit so seamlessly into our lives. The smile you reserve just for your siblings and the way you rest your head in just the right spot under my chin when you’re tired — I somehow know that you were meant to be here all along. It was always you.
I held you a little closer tonight, relishing the fact that you still fit so perfectly into my arms and haven’t lost your delicious baby thighs. I know these days are coming to a close, and while a part of me is dreading the end of this beautiful stage of life, a large part of me also knows the infinite joys yet to come. There will be Disney trips, lost teeth, and so many movie nights. There will be first words leading to first sentences, and running down the stairs to see if Santa came on Christmas morning. There will be school trips, broken hearts, and times when I’ll throw my arms up in surrender because I won’t know the right way to guide you. There will be days where I long for time to speed up, and days where I’ll wish that a kiss and Mickey Mouse bandaid would still solve all of your problems. There is pain in letting you go, yes — but there is also so much joy and beauty in watching you grow up.
Happy Birthday, my sweet boy. There are no words to describe the absolute joy that you bring us or how grateful I am to spend my days with you. It is truly a privilege to be your mama, Graham, and I know you will do great things someday. For now, though, you’re still my smooshy velcro baby — and I wouldn’t have it any other way.