Last week was your 1st birthday. We had such a lovely day. The sun was shining and it was beautifully hot, much like it was this time last year when you were born. You had your first ever piece of chocolate cake, splashed about in the paddling pool and opened your presents. We tried to buy some new chickens (now pecking away in the back garden), ate pancakes for breakfast and had dinner together in the garden while drinking champagne and enjoying your attempts to get your hands on daddy's glass.
We didn't have a party, partly because you sometimes find lots of people a bit overwhelming but mostly because we wanted it to be just us - like it was last year when we first met you.
I still think of that day often. The moment I first saw you quickly followed by the moment I first held you and then the moment you looked up at me with those astonishing blue eyes. And you didn't cry, not once. Everything I was before that point just melted in those moments. Life suddenly made sense: you made it make sense. The year that followed has changed me body and soul, and I can't thank you enough for that gift.
Those first few weeks were dream-like, and I never wanted them to end. Each day melded into the next as we cuddled you, fed you, changed you and generally just gazed at you. Time was lost, and everything else was secondary. You started to grow and change so quickly, adjusting to your new world and working out what was what. Your eyes were open the first moment you were born and you were instantly so wriggly and curious, so desperate to investigate and get on your own two feet - something you finally managed just before you turned 11 months.
You have taught me so much. About myself, about life and about love. You've taught me that love really is boundless - because there simply isn't anything that I wouldn't do to protect you. You've taught me that what I thought was important in life, things like careers and success, just don't matter. What matters is moments: perfect, happy, everyday moments.
You've also taught me how to live in my own skin. Before I had you in my life - not 1 year ago, but 1 year and 9 months ago - I never really knew how to be myself, or even who that person really was. I wasn't very confident, and struggled to know what I should do, day to day or in life more generally. You changed that. You changed me. And not just because I suddenly had a purpose to protect and nurture you, but because you helped me finally find and understand myself. I live now with a confidence and joy I have never before known, and it's all down to you.
You make me laugh more than anyone else I know. You have the widest grin and most infectious laugh. Your eyes are the most wonderful colour blue - every single person who meets you comments on them. You are constantly exploring, and love being outside. You investigate every object and mechanism that crosses your path with intense concentration. You fight to stay awake even when you're exhausted, outraged that you might miss a single moment. You are gentle, curious and the best possible fun.
My darling boy, you have rocked and changed and enhanced my world. Don't ever stop being you, exactly you, not even for a moment. When you're older you might be tempted sometimes to try being someone else, but as someone who's tried that game most of their life let me assure you, it's so much more fun being yourself. And besides, you're amazing. Every single day you're totally, completely and utterly amazing.
You're asleep at the moment, tucked up in your cot with your bunny, and though I spent an hour and a half getting you to go to sleep there's a rather large part of me that can't wait for you to wake up again in the morning. You'll be standing up in your cot, grinning, waiting for me to come in and start our lovely day.
Sleep tight little one, and know that your daddy and I love you more than I can possibly describe,
Your mum x x x x x x x