To my little boy on his first birthday,
In so many ways your first year has felt like the blink of an eye and a lifetime all at once. It would be easy for me to throw out those old clichés about how fast it’s all gone by, but that wouldn’t be exactly accurate. The truth is, I have felt every single moment of those 365 days: the worry, the guilt, the overpowering, knock-you-off-your-feet kind of love, the frustration, the exhaustion, the pure, unadulterated bliss of watching you grow alongside me.
I’ve been blessed with the distinct privilege of getting to witness nearly every single moment of your life so far and it has become my life’s greatest blessing. I couldn’t imagine anything more substantial, more meaningful than seeing you become you.
As it goes when any baby is born, family members, friends and complete strangers searched your features for hints of daddy and I, wondering if you’d inherited grandpa’s red hair or Uncle Matt’s almond eyes, mommy’s fair coloring or daddy’s expressions. They speculated on your future career when you came out with toddler-sized hands—quarterback, artist, piano player—and wondered if we had another engineer in the making as you mimicked daddy’s curiosity and penchant for tinkering with anything you could get your hands on.
But you know what I think, sweet boy? I think you’re a person all your own, distinctive and unique, separate from all the characteristics that define your relatives. From the moment you were born, you had preferences and habits that were purely you, from the way you instantly calmed when the spot right between your eyebrows was rubbed to the way your hands were always joined, as if providing your own comfort.
At just a couple months old, you spit our your pacifier, deciding you no longer needed it; at three and a half months, you were wolfing down avocadoes and pureed peaches, disinterested in waiting for that arbitrary six month milestone. Even the way you were born was purely you; a few hours fashionably late (as you have so often made me since your arrival) but arriving on the scene fast and furious, bursting into the world with great fanfare and excitement. None of that long, slow laboring for you; as with everything else you do, you made up your mind that you were ready and joined us mere hours later.
You are charismatic and charming in a way that I didn’t know babies could be. Going to the store with you in tow takes forever because we’re stopped in every aisle by strangers who can’t help but engage you in conversation; you are all too happy to indulge them, smiling hugely and offering your adorable little wave that involves all five fingers.
You get more interesting with every day that passes and, while I am in love with every stage you’ve been in so far, I know it only gets better from here. I cannot wait until the day you can hold my hand and walk next to me on the beach or start to put those choppy little words and mouthfuls of syllables into full sentences. I can’t wait to teach you to cook, to watch you and daddy tire each other out running around the backyard just before bedtime, to see you hold your little brother or sister for the first time when we become a family of four this summer.
When I think of the kind of person you’ll be in the future, I don’t worry or wonder much these days. I already know you will hold your own, that you’ll be a leader, but not a bully, a charmer but not a fraud, an independent but not a loner. Like your daddy, you’ll be a hard worker with a mind that never stops analyzing and calculating, you’ll be the type of person whom others always want to be around because they hope they can soak up a little of your self-assurance, your wisdom, your quick wittedness. Like me, you’ll be generous and kind-hearted, a fiercely loyal friend and a champion of the underdog. And you’ll be you: charismatic, stubbornly independent, easygoing and boundlessly curious, comfortable in your uniquely inimitable Chase-ness.
Before I got pregnant with you, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I bounced from job to job wondering when I’d stumble on the one thing that would make sense to me, that would bring me excitement and joy and pleasure to do every day. And then you were born and I knew in an instant that I was just waiting all my life to be a mother. To be your mother. Thank you for giving me that title and the best job I could ever imagine.
Happy birthday, sweet boy.
I love you to the moon,