Happy first birthday to you! It's become a tradition of mine that I write a letter to my kids the day before their first birthday, so here is my letter to you. Well, I say it's a tradition, but I can't really remember if I wrote one to Henry. I think I did. I know I wrote one to Griffin, but I'm not sure where it is. (my confusion will unfortunately sound all too familiar to you as you get older, I'm afraid...) Anyway, I wanted to make sure I wrote one to you.
To say this has been an eventful year would be an understatement. You were certainly eager to join our family - you even tried to come three weeks early, but those doctors at the hospital made you wait a little longer. But even they couldn't keep you from coming when you wanted to - two days before your scheduled arrival you came into our life. You made an immediate impact on me, your dad and your two brothers. We were all drawn to you instantly and as you've grown this year you've brought us all closer together. I think your dad and I would agree that although we've had to play "zone defense" instead of "man-to-man" with the three of you, it has made us work better as a family and as a team (you will find as you get older that I LOVE the sports analogies!)
This has been quite a year of firsts for you. In addition to the usual firsts that happen in a baby's life, you've had a lot of new things happen to you. You were born with your first two teeth. You had your first airplane ride to California to meet your great-grandmother. You went to Storyland for the first time (this is our family place, so your first time is significant!) You were our first kid to be able to eat, well, anything, and consequently, you were our first kid to be on (and remain on) the growth percentile chart. We also made our first trip to the emergency room with you - thanks to a bump on the head after you fell out of your crib. I think your dad was hoping you'd be the first one to sleep in your crib all night long before the age of one, but unless you do that tonight, that one will have to remain just a dream.
Even though you are only one, you have grown into your own already. Your dad and I watched you this year, wondering if you'd be more like Griffin or like Henry. Your two brothers are as different as night and day. I always describe them as one kid who likes to avoid the puddles, and one kid who goes out of his way to jump in them (I think you'll be able to figure out who is who). We wondered if you'd take after either one of them. Truth is, even at age one, you are...well, you. You are your own individual. You have a distinct personality that is neither Griffin nor Henry, and it's not just about the curly hair. We can't wait for these next years to see what kind of boy and man you become.
Right now we will try to enjoy every moment. I love how you say "dada" every time your dad enters the room. I love watching you try to wake Griffin up when he's grumbling on the couch before school, and I love watching Griffin read stories to you on the floor. I love listening to you laugh with Henry as you both crawl around with cars on the floor singing the "Hot Wheels" theme from the Wii, and I love listening to Henry pretend to read you stories in his room. And I love how you grab me on the shoulders with your little fingers, giving me tiny squeezes for hugs and smashing your face into me for kisses.
I know these moments won't last forever. I know there will be a time, all too soon, when you'll be too big for all these things. But I will remember this year forever. Happy First Birthday Leo. Thanks for completing our family.