Tuesday, January 12, 2016

braxton michael | one year.

I'm writing this particular letter with tissues in-hand, because my heart is so full of gratitude that it all just keeps pouring out of my eyes. It has been an entire year since I first held your long, lanky, perfect body in my arms, and your daddy + I are so proud that you are ours. There are no amount of kisses I could smooch you with, squeezes I could wrap you up in, or silly smiles I could flash your way to make you know just how much you mean to me, just how much I love you. This past year has been full of lots of things, and love is at the very top of all of them. My prayer for you as I wrote you this letter, along with the all the others, too, is that you would have a small glimpse of the joy you brought me + so many others as we watched you discover the world around you, bit by bit, for the very first time. I've also become a diligent learner of you, little one. I love studying you to discover what you like + don't like, what you mean when you do certain things, and so much more. I learn as you learn, and I'm never one to shy away from discovering something new. Next to Jesus and your daddy, you are the best thing to study -- in fact, I study them when I study you, too, which is pretty awesome.

Over the past month, you have grown + changed in lots of ways. You're not walking just yet, but we know it's just a matter of time before you take off and never stop. Even without taking steps, you manage to go from place to place without ever missing a beat (as evidenced by this month's pictures). You get better at balancing on your own every day, and are still professionally going wherever you want by speed-crawling + cruising. Daddy + I like to get on our knees and chase you all over the house, mainly because you belly laugh the whole time you try to out-crawl us. You are still chatty with a big personality, you can wave and say "buh-buh" (usually while wearing a toothy grin), you love to play with and rearrange your toys (especially your new ones), and you leave a trail of those same toys throughout the house as you crawl to new destinations. "Mama" is still your favorite word, BUT (drum roll please) you have officially started saying "DADA!" Daddy tries to play it cool, but we both know what it does to him inside! You can click your tongue and make other noises with your mouth, and you love to mock us when we talk (conversing with you is pretty funny, kiddo). Our break from teething is still lingering (hallelujah), and you get better at using those six teeth every time you eat. Yep, you still loooooooove to eat, too. The holiday were full of good food, and you didn't mind at all. Once you finished your plate of food, you were pointing at mine while grunting. Real talk: it scares me to think about how much you'll eat when you become a teenager. Yikes!

Speaking of the holidays, you made things much more interesting, mister. Your favorite things about Christmas were the food (yep, you liked it enough for me to say it twice), the boxes, and the tissue paper. No one was surprised that you opened up your gifts only to get distracted by what it was wrapped in, but you did get some pretty cool gifts. Mama asked for more practical gifts for you for this first Christmas, including endless trips to the Greenville Zoo, The Children's Museum, and the South Carolina State Parks. How cool is that?! You, me, your daddy, and any always-welcome guests are going to do lots of adventuring during 2016, and we are PUMPED! These gifts will make your transition into a walking, talking, curious toddler much smoother, I'm sure of it. Daddy was home with us for two weeks over Christmas, and it was UH-MAY-ZING. You were spoiled rotten by him while he was home, and I'm still trying to convince you that you don't need to be picked up every few minutes. I knew I was going to be in trouble once he went back to school, but I didn't mind because seeing you two become best buds makes me all warm + fuzzy inside. Your daddy loves you so well, sweet B.

We've got a full day planned for you as we kick off your birthday celebrations! An entire day of adventuring followed by an intimate party with just us, your grandparents, and your aunts + uncles. Your big party is this weekend (woot woot!), and your daddy + I have been crafting for weeks to get ready for all the fun we are going to have. It's been too long since I've put my K4 creativity to good use, and I am having a BALL while trying my best to make sure your party is perfect. You know what having two parties in one week means? You get to smash two cakes in one week! Yeahhhh buddddddy! So many people love you, and I have plenty of stories + memories that prove that fact. But, I mean, with those eyes, what's not to love?

Braxton Michael Bargeron, you are a treasure to me. I have been the girl who couldn't wait to become a mommy for as long as I can remember, but I never could've fathomed that you would arrest my heart like you did when I met you for the first time a whole year ago. The first few weeks with you are a blur, quite frankly, and one of the things I hate most about being so sick when you were first born is that I wasn't able to soak it all in. I've made up for it since then, believe me, but it still makes me sad when I think about missing so many of your first moments. One thing is certain, though: I can't wait to tell you about how God protected us from losing each other, how he worked miracle after miracle during the first few months of your life, and how strong your daddy + so many others were for us when we weren't very strong by ourselves. One of my favorite miracles is this one: all of the doctors that I saw in the hospital said it would be "all but impossible" for my milk to come in after all the trauma my body had gone through, but God has seen us through twelve months of nursing. I wish I had a video of our reaction when I pumped my first little drop of milk while sitting on that hospital bed. We partied like it was 1999 (don't worry, one day you'll know what that means), and that same excitement has been the theme of our first year with you. It literally feels like my heart is being crushed when I think about the weaning process being upon us, but I'm thankful to watch you keep growing in independence (insert the ugliest cry ever here).

The year that lies ahead will be full of more highs and lows, trials and suffering, adventures and laughs, and we are humbled to keep learning as you learn, growing as you grow. We love you more every single day, and that love grows exponentially with every new second we have with you. As bittersweet as it is to say farewell to the baby stage, our hearts are overflowing with thankfulness to begin a new season. I hope you still want to snuggle in close to me in the mornings while we play with your toys + watch our beloved PBS, and I really hope you keep stopping whatever you're doing at any given time just to come sit in my lap + give me kisses out of the blue. I promise to keep singing to you, dancing with you, chasing you, toting you to beautiful places on my back, flirting with you in the rearview mirror, letting you try to destroy the blinds, praying for you throughout every day, tickling you until you laugh out of control, protecting you from as much danger as I can, and making my love for you as tangible as it can possibly get. Thank you for showing me so much in such a short amount of time, sweet boy. I'd give anything to see this world through your eyes.

Happy birthday to you, Baby B! Life has been a whole lot more fun since you joined us, and we're still just getting started. May kindness and generosity be the themes of your life, and may the love of Christ overwhelm + compel you always.

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