Happy Birthday, Little Son.

I can't believe it. I really can't.

You are one, my dear boy. You are a whole year old, 365 days. Those days have been FULL. For both of us. For all three of us. You have cried every single day for a year. You have napped. You have eaten. You have snuggled. You have discovered and awakened to new elements. You have grown. You have rolled, wiggled, crawled, stood tall, and now you are just shy of a walk. I'm sure your swagger will make me proud (AKA make me cry.) You, with the rotund thighs and the pouty lips and the humor in your eyes and the crinkle in your nose. I could kiss you all over, and oh, I have. I HAVE. But still, it's never enough!

You have four healthy, happy, inclusive grandparents that adore you. You are so lucky for that, dear one! You have a zillion little cousins that think you're the cutest. You have two parents who swear you're the best child on Earth. Even when you pull mommy's hair and interrupt daddy's work calls and throw your food on the floor. We love you so much, we are buying you a whole house with a lawn where you can run and play to your heart's content. You have traveled the country and the world and you have lived to tell the tales of gelato. You love chicken, hate spinach, refuse bottles, welcome juice boxes and oatmeal and waffles, and you most certainly live out loud (literally - you are LOUD.) You love to be silly and you know that you are funny and I love that you are already confident. You are a little wary of people you don't know, and I admit, I kind of love that about you, too. You don't just take to others immediately. You are careful, cautious, and you really think about what's happening around you. There is no getting anything past you! Believe me, I've tried. You always manage to find my iPhone, my hair, my last bite. You are very good.

You have changed my paradigm. You came in like the great awakening, and now I am forever defined by you. It's crazy to think that after 27 years of my living one way, the only way I knew how, you came to me and spent the past year etching your expression into my life. You are forever to me. Me and your Dad. We are going to love you endlessly, until the end of our time. And even then, I will still love you. I'll bend the rules of eternity.

I'm so proud to know you, little son. You are a powerful person. You are strong and gentle all at once. You are so special, so sweet, so good, and you always will be. In the years to come, you will understand so much. But you will look back on your life and have questions about things. Just know this - my prayer for you as you enter your second year is that you may know how very, terribly loved you are. That you won't be able to deny your worth. That you will be overcome with excessive affirmation, endless encouragement and a parade of truth and kindness all around you. My love for you is fierce and overwhelming, but is is a mere shadow of the passion that our savior Christ has for you. Lean into Him, always, little son. Learn His language, the way He speaks, and listen closely. You will always have peace when you seek first His opinion. I can promise you that.

I can't promise that you will like the outfit I dress you in today.

While you're still little, I'm the boss. And the boss likes you in blue onesies.

I love love LOVE you.