Oh how I love you. Forrest, I can't believe you are one. As I think about what I could say to you today, my mind is instantly filled with cliche expressions:
I can't believe it's already been a year.
It's like you've always been apart of our family.
You have our hearts.
I cherish our relationship.
And p.s... I'm sorry you spent the first year of your life (mostly) wearing pajamas.
Here's why I feel those sentiments ring true.
With four little ones, time passes quickly. There's always some place to be or something to get ready for. I do my best to honor nap time, but sometimes your schedule has to be sacrificed to accommodate one of those big kid "somethings." Most of the time, you take it all in stride. Whose to say if that's a result of your sweet nature or simply because people, babies even, are adaptable. I only have to look at the face of one of your siblings to be reminded of how quickly babyhood passes which is why I've tried my hardest to enjoy every minute (even the late night minutes) this past year. In a way its easy to accept that a year has past when I think of all that's transpired, but the memory of our first few days at McKay Dee hospital feel fresh in my head.
With ease, you securely nestled yourself into our family circle. Credit must be given to your doting brother and sisters who gave you their hearts, attention, protection and concern from the start. Lottie has typical three year old moments but she seems to relish the role of being a big sister. You love them all, but man do you light up when she is around. I regularly utilize Henry and Eliza as helpers. If I have to, heaven forbid, leave the room for a quick minute; your world sometimes will fall apart. They each have their own games that they've created to divert your tears into laughter; and it usually works. My favorite game that the kids play with you involves a silly little chant. As they swirl their fingers in the air they sing, "Lolly, lolly, lolly... " (wait for it) "POP" and with that pop, they clap their hands as you burst into a fit of giggles. At times, when they finish, we swear that we hear you mimic the word "Lolly" in your own sing song way. As Mom's sidekick, you're at every carpool reunion and farewell. It's so tender to watch these interactions as they greet you and/or hear them wish you a happy day as they exit the car.
Your smile softens the grumpiest of hearts. The sweet sound of your voice puts the Disney Princesses to shame. It's so magical to me. With an expression nothing short of irresistible, you have the ability to motivate possessive (read: selfish) children to share go-gurts (among other snacks) and beloved toys. Your inquisitive and curious personality is endearing which allows these foreign feelings of patience and forgiveness to exist as you unroll yet another roll of toilet paper or dump the content of a kitchen drawer onto the floor for the millionth time. Here comes the over share, but I have to say it. I love everything about the way we nurse. I love the touch of your perfect hands, the smiles you randomly give while you nurse and the way you twiddle your hair. It's the most beautiful sight and I do my best to make sure my cell phone is far away from us when we nurse because it's the interaction I treasure most. When we retrieve you from your crib, you often pat us on the back. Those love pats melt your Dad in a big way. You mastered the twelve hour, uninterrupted, sleep stretch at nine months and man, do I wake up singing!
And finally, I really do cherish you. I hope that my actions really speak louder than words when I tell you that. I'm thankful everyday that your Dad and I made the decision before we got married that I'd stay home with my babies. This isn't a luxury that we've been blessed with or lucked out on. It's a lifestyle that we fought hard and sacrificed for. I realize that every family's situations are different and what works for us isn't the formula for all families, but I'm so grateful that I'm here for each of the hard, long, dull, frustrating, beautiful and irreplaceable moments and milestones. Not knowing if you're our final baby or not, I've treated each stage as if it was my last. It's been more bitter than sweet having held this perspective; something which worries your Daddy! ;) I hope you always love me the way you do now. Someday you'll see my flaws more clearly and I won't be your one and only remedy and refuge. But for my sake, I sure hope it takes you a long while to recognize my many imperfections and please, let's never grow out of that crazy Mama and Baby infatuation we've got going on.
We love you so so much Forrest. Thank you for choosing us. I hope we're able to give you the happiest of days today because you make our days truly bright.
I love you
I love you
Announcing my pregnancy with Forrest
Forrest's Birth Story