Happy First Birthday, Carterito. Carterito. Do you know how you got that nickname? Your Daddy started referring to you as our Little Carterito just moments after you were born and handed over to us, wrapped up so tight you looked like a little burrito baby.
How did we get here? How is it that we've already arrived at your first birthday? I can't believe it. For 365 days I've been by your side. In the beginning, it was a blur. You spared no expense breaking us in as new parents. We learned valuable lessons such as "never wake a sleeping baby," and "your father definitely can't survive on less than five hours of sleep at night." You taught us that sometimes the expensive bottles aren't always the best and to always carry not one but at least three changes of clothes. Who knew poop could make it's way so easily out of the neck hole of a onesie?
We never once questioned our ability as parents. In a way, you made it so simple for us. Fiercely independent from the beginning, you led us. We followed your cues and we quickly learned more about you and each other in those early weeks than we had learned in our three years of marriage. Where I am strong, sometimes your Daddy is weak. Where I am weak, he is strong. And with you, Carter? We've created a perfect balance. Sometimes I think that life can't get any better than this, but then it does.
For every milestone you've reached, our hearts have exploded with pure joy and elation. To be able to witness your first words, your first steps and the look on your face as you discover something new has been immeasurably awesome. For every sickness, every bump and bruise, our hearts have broken. Being your Mama has taught me that the highs of parenting are incredibly high and also that the lows are heart-breakingly low. We can only wish for you, Carter, that these highs will outnumber the lows as you grow older. And as your parents, we'll continue to do everything in our power so that this is the case.
Even before you were born, Carter, your Daddy and I have wished the best for you. That you inherit the best of both of us and that the world gives you nothing but the best of everything that it has to offer. You've most certainly inherited your Daddy blue eyes. It's often the first thing that people notice about you. You've inherited my strong will although some may mistake this trait for stubbornness. Regardless, you know what you want and with intense determination and dedication, you go after it. You are fearless, inquisitive and compassionate. Your fearlessness has been both a blessing and a curse. I know that it will serve you well as you get older, but as for now? It's been difficult to teach you that you cannot fly, the stairs are not for playing and that running down slanted driveways will only result in scraped noses and bumped foreheads.
It has been difficult to learn that we can't always protect you. You're going to fall and scrape your knee, you're going to run too fast, eat too fast and you're going to learn that ultimately things are going to happen that are outside of our control. Hopefully these life lessons will strengthen your character, but always know that your Daddy and I will be right behind you ready to explain the Why's, the How's and the Why Not's.
I never thought I would be that emotional Mom who cried on the eve of her baby's first birthday. But like I've always said, "you never know the kind of mom you're going to be until you're wearing your mom shoes, facing your first mom-stacle." These tears I'm crying are not sad, regretful tears by any means. They are tears born from the utmost happiness and thankfulness that I've been blessed with the chance, the opportunity and the calling to be a Mother. And not just anyone's Mother. Your Mother.
As husband and wife we thought we knew unconditional love but it wasn't until you were placed in our arms that we truly understood its limitless meaning. Carter, you have brought more love, more laughter and more emotion into our lives than we could have ever imagined. Thank you for making us a family and for making us more than husband and wife, but now Mommy and Daddy. And at this point? Seasoned Mommy and Daddy!
Thank you for reminding us to take it slower, to love more, laugh more and learn more. We hope we can continue to teach you these important life lessons as you grow older.
What a wild ride this year has been, sweet boy. You are such a blessing. We hope that not a day goes by that you are not reminded of this and of just how much your Daddy and I love you.
Happy First Birthday, "Baby C!" We love you more than carrots.
Love always and then some and then some more,
Mama and Daddy