This summer, I have had the rare privilege to be here to pick you up from your nap, almost every time.
This week, you've largely been picked up before you were fully awake. You snuggle your head down into my neck as we walk to the garage to go pick big brother up from camp. By the time we reach the kitchen you usually have a few little sounds for me and your head starts to come up.
A few months ago when we took these 1 year old pictures, things were different. When you woke up in the morning or after nap time, you would snuggle into my neck, sitting on my arm, leaned close in to my body, and stay there, not moving, just snuggling for a long time, sometimes a very long time.
I purposed in my heart to let you stay there, snuggled close, welcoming morning or wakefulness as long as you wanted, and we did. Already though, in just few months, you are a much bigger boy. So much less baby and so much more boy with every little running step you take.
I said to your daddy this week that my baby was gone. (Your sister helpfully pointed out that you were right there six inches away). There are still lingering bits of baby and you are still definitely Mama's boy, but you walk your own way now.
You are one. We've said farewell to bottles, formula, burp cloths, and pureed baby food. We've welcomed a dozen or more new words and days more full of steps than of falls.
You now know a few baby signs and share your own personality and frustrations with little mini-fits. You are still so tenderhearted and cry when your siblings do, even when it makes no sense. You smile and laugh at any attention from your enthusiastic big brother and put up with the tugs and hugs of your aggressive big sister.
You are not the baby that I would just sit and snuggle, now you are a great explorer learning and trying new things all day every day.
You are full of smiles, kisses, love and cuteness. You are a very messy eater who still needs lots of help, but might be happy to survive purely on blueberries, strawberries, and watermelon--- a summer baby in love with the foods of summer.
But now you watch when the video games come on and shake a controller randomly at the TV. You already love LEGO Duplos.
It is harder and different the last time through this transition. With our first child, everything was full of firsts. We knew we'd pass through these phases again and were so excited about the new things that it was easier to let them go by as we embraced the next "first" or "new" developmental stage.
The third, and last time, we are full of final passes past each phase. I am so excited for you and the whole new world that is open to your curious eyes. Somewhere inside though, I mourn saying farewell to my last baby, my last year as a new mother, my last year with a small person totally dependent on us and totally in love with us.
I'm hear, holding you as you change and grow. I am ready for and crave more waking snuggles before you grow up and climb out of bed on your own. Before your day begins your own way, not snuggled against my chest.
Sometimes, it still breaks my heart. Today, I walked to the car, carrying you close and your little legs already dangle down to my own legs. Your mama, dear boy, is not tall and maybe you won't be either, but already you're growing fast and already you are your own boy. Welcome dear boy, but baby, your mama's always right here if you need her.
We love you so much lil E'
(Note: All photos by Heather Warren Photography)