Ours was a delicious love affair that began two years ago today. I'll be the first to admit, this wasn't exactly a case of love at first sight. When the doctor put you in my arms I didn't know quite what to think. There you were: 7 pounds 10 ounces of wriggling, shrieking, wrinkly need. And there I was: many more pounds of exhaustion, hormones, and confusion. But we bundled you up, wrapping our first-time parent worries and fears in a soft blue blanket, took you home, and slowly but surely our love affair began to blossom.
For months, you and I were inseparable. You needed nourishment; I could provide. You needed comfort; I did my best to offer it. And one day, about six weeks into this grand adventure, you smiled at me. "He LIKES me!" I remember thinking with amazement. Until that moment I actually believed you might feel like you were stuck with me, I swear I saw you gaze longingly at the other strollers and car seats and wonder why you couldn't have gone home with someone who actually knew what they were doing. But with that first true smile you seemed to be reassuring me- "We're going to be OK, you and I. We were made for each other."
Our love continued to grow with every day, every milestone. My heart swelled when I heard your sweet little giggle for the first time, and even those middle of the night feedings didn't seem quite so brutal when you gazed up at me with those big blue eyes. I cried for 45 straight miles my first day back at work, and raced home to be with you every night. I mock-complained about your "clinginess" but secretly relished the way only I could calm you down, the way you cried out for "Mama" when you needed comfort, the damp spot your freshly washed head left on my shoulder as I rocked you to sleep. Private smiles shared across the dinner table, the jokes only the two of us would ever understand.
But a few months back things began to change. We were both getting bigger- you all around, and me in the belly. Both of our moods took a turn for the worse as you became prone to temper tantrums and I barely had the energy to get through the day. I could see the struggle for independence raging in your 3-foot-high body, spilling over into an almost constant chorus of "NOs!". I could feel some of the joy slipping away as the most simple tasks became a battle of wills. Then to complicate matters even further, along came your baby sister and with her, a massive shift in your universe. You turned away from me, and I was forced to turn even further to tend to her constant needs. She cried, you cried, and I cried.
Then one night Cecilia blissfully slept through the early evening and you and I found our way back to each other. We joked through dinner, tentative giggles at first, then the all out gut-busting laughter only you can bring out. As we cuddled after your bath you nestled your head in that familiar place, looked up at me, and took my breath away as you said "Mama came back!" And just like that, we did.
So happy birthday, sweet angel. I can't promise you our relationship will always be perfect- in fact I promise you it won't. But you have my word we'll always find our way back together, and you will always be my baby boy. Because ours is a love affair destined to last forever.