Sunday, January 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Baby!

Our baby boy turns a year old this week! That yummy, cuddly lump we brought home from the hospital has turned into a sturdy almost-toddler who has wrapped each and every one of us around his sticky little fingers. He is an amazingly sweet little ginger-haired boy and we will always be forever grateful that God blessed our family with such an awesome little guy.

A child’s birthday – especially the first one – can be horribly conflicting for his mother. Obviously I am thrilled that Evan has reached such an important milestone, as the alternative is too awful to even think about. But the baby of our family is taking his first steps (literally and figuratively) away from actually being a baby, and since he is our very last baby, it’s even harder on his mommy.

People remark all the time on the incredibly swift passage of time and I know it will be very cliché for me to say that this year went by unbelievably fast. But it really did. I think it was the fastest year of my life so far. When the other boys were little we didn’t have as much going on. Of course we felt busy, but before your kids start school you can never fathom how crazy your schedule will get, with school activities, sports, play dates and everything else that comes along when they start to develop their own little lives. Evan’s first year was chock-full of his brothers’ activities and the days and weeks and months just flew by.

Although there was a lot going on, I can definitely say we enjoyed the heck out of Evan’s baby days. There was something so sweet and poignant about having a little one in the house along with brothers who are old enough to appreciate him. From day one they were head over heels in love with their baby and cheered him through every milestone.

I’ll never forget Jerame charging in, always wanting to hold and feed Evan and even change his diapers (both wet and poopy!). Or Cameron and his best friend Dylan standing Evan up between them and encouraging him to take his first steps, making it their mission to get him up and running. Or Brandon cackling in glee every time Evan drooled or spit up or farted or blew raspberries.

Joe and I spent hours and hours this year with our new little guy parked between us, talking about this amazing creature we made. I remember an older friend of mine telling me long ago how the birth of our first child would bring Joe and I closer in ways we could never imagine. She was right – Cameron’s birth was definitely a game changer. The boy I fell in love with and married became the father of my son and we became forever tied to each other. There’s a quote I love that goes something like, “a couple becomes a family when husband and wife become mom and dad”.

But what I didn’t realize then was that the bond would grow with every subsequent child. We truly have amazing kids and I look at them as a sign that Joe and I were meant to be together. Three of our four boys look more like me than him, but when I look into each of their little faces I can see my husband smiling back out at me. No matter what else I do in my life I’ll always be glad that I brought four little Joes into the world.

Evan’s birth came during a year of flux for our family. Financially it was very tough, and there were months of nail biting early in the year when Joe was scrambling to find a new job. But when we look back it will always be Evan’s round smiling face that we'll remember. He sort of saved the year for all of us. Instead of remembering the past 12 months as some of the hardest of our marriage, we will remember them as the year Evan joined the party.

And we are all so happy he’s here.

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