My baby is one. And I’m not pregnant with another one like I was when my first baby turned one, nor am I considering another one soon like I was when the older boys turned one. My baby is one, and it’s most likely the end of an era in our house. We’re probably done with the teeny tiny baby days around here. It’s bittersweet for me, because I love the feeling of a newborn curled up on my chest. I love those sweet, tiny baby cries and the thrill of bringing a new family member into the house. But the prospect of all my children growing more independent and self-sufficient, the thought that the end of diapers and waking up in the middle of the night are in the still-distant but not unforseeable future, those ideas are helping me through the little bit of sadness I feel, and we’re charging forward with the four we’ve got.
Zachary had a great birthday. We went with a “ball” theme for his party, because playing catch is one of his favorite activities. I found some plates that had a football, baseball, soccer ball, and basketball on them and said something about an all-star, and he seemed to be pretty excited. We had a simple party with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and his cousin, and he showed off his superior pizza and grape-eating skills before diving into his chocolate cake. Since he’s the fourth child, I sometimes worry that he doesn’t get enough chances to be the center of attention, but I felt like that day he knew that we were all there to celebrate him, and he seemed to soak it all up!
It was hard to think of anything to get him as birthday gifts, because he truly doesn’t need a single thing. There are so many little boy toys and clothes around here, it almost seems foolish to get more. But of course, he got a few new toys from his family members, and he loved them. The next day, when all three boys were playing together, I had to remind the older ones that the toys belonged to Zach, and they had to wait and ask him to use them. After a while, Zach seemed to take ownership of them and understand that they were his. At one point, he gave the big boys a look that seemed to say “step off!”, and it cracked me up. I was happy for him to have a few nice things of his own, whether he needed them or not.
A few days after his birthday I sit here typing, thinking of how the helpless newborn of a year ago has grown into a toddler with a toothy grin who can do so much. He is starting to use walking to get around almost as much as crawling. He understands so much language, and can sign more, milk, and please, along with planting a big drooly raspberry on my cheek when I ask for a kiss. His babbling now includes calling us Mama and Dada by name, and he’s trying to tell us so much more. It’s such a privilege to be his mom, and I love watching his personality continue to develop.
Last week, I clicked something on Facebook that took me to my Profile Pictures album. The snapshots of my life that I had chosen to represent myself since August 2008, only a few months after I started working on this blog. In my first picture, I was in a boat with Gracie and Max, pregnant with Jack. The pictures progressed through the following three years: Jack’s birth, life as a family of five, birthdays, holidays, my pregnancy with Zachary, Zach’s birth, and the memories of the six of us since then. Those pictures summed up a truly blessed life these past three years. So many memories to look back on; some big, monumentous milestones of life, and some just random, every-day events that make life special. It’s been fun sharing so many of those moments on this blog the past three and a half years, and I hope they’ve provided some enjoyment and help along the way too. Thanks for joining me on this ride. I can’t wait to see where it takes us next!