I can't even begin to talk about this incredible first year with my babies. So I won't. Josh will.
Austin and Summer,
As I sat down to write this 12-month post, I was in a reflective kind of mood. That shouldn’t be at all surprising considering this marks the one year anniversary of your birth, and first birthdays are kind of a big deal. So I went back and read each of the 11 previous posts to remind myself of the journey we’ve taken as a family over the last year. As part of that, I also went back and looked at some of the congratulatory emails we received last December.
As you can imagine, when you guys were born we heard from a lot of people that wanted to tell us how excited they were for us that you had arrived. Lots of those emails included messages about how those people had felt during their kids’ childhoods. One such note really stood out to me because the author mentioned that he didn’t really remember much from when his kids were newborns. At the time, you were so young that I practically remembered every second of your lives. I knew every inch of your bodies, every mannerism, and every sound you ever made. The thought that I might ever NOT remember every second of your lives seemed preposterous. I literally couldn’t imagine ever forgetting any of those moments we shared together in the first few weeks of your lives. But as more time has passed, obviously some of those moments have been forgotten. Sure, many of them are etched in my memory, but the picture of your lives broadens every day. I obviously cherish all of the individual moments we’re able to share together, but now there’s also a more collective view of you that I see. That view includes knowing that when Austin is upset, he’ll invariably find his puppy, put two fingers in his mouth, and grab puppy by the ears that are soaked from being sucked on all day, or that Summy is our expressive little girl who wants to tell us about everything she sees, so she points to it and says her famous “duh” sound. While I sometimes wish I could capture your entire lives on videotape and just watch it over and over, I also know that if I were to do that, I’d be missing everything that you do each day, which would be the worst crime possible since every new day with both of you is somehow even better than the previous day.
And then another thought struck me. What if YOU guys don’t remember these times. The reality is, you won’t have any specific memories of anything for your first few years, and that just seems so cruel and unfair to me. These are the sweetest days, where we can spend hours just playing on the floor together, kissing you guys into giggle fits, holding and hugging you for as long as you’ll let us until you’re ready to go play again. And sure, all of this will be implanted into who you are and who you become, but it does seem unfair that you won’t share the same memories of this first year that your mom and I have. So, since you might be moody teenagers when you read this, let me take this opportunity to remind you of a few things:
Austin, you are just about the sweetest tempered baby possible, and you’re a major daddy’s boy. When I come home from work or even just downstairs after being away for a few minutes, the first sound I hear is your big hands slapping the wood floor as you come crawling over to me. I hope you never lose that sweetness about you because, even if you want to have a tough exterior, having a sweet interior will allow you to love and be loved in a way you otherwise wouldn’t be able to experience.
Summy, you’re our sweet, shy baby out in public but our silly little girl at home. You always make new people work hard to earn your affections (if you’re reading this as a teenager, that better still be the case), but when it’s just the four of us, you’re always smiling and giggling up a storm. We can tell that you have a bit of a wild side to you and you definitely like to make your own rules. I already know that you’re going to push our buttons every now and then, and that’ll be part of your process of becoming a grown up. But I also hope you know that sometimes when we make rules for you, it’s because we want the best for you, unconditionally. And sometimes your parents really do know best.
All of these amazing things you do, tendencies you’ve formed, and personalities you’ve developed have really created the people you’ve become. I can’t wait to see if Austin stays the happy-go-lucky kind of kid that always has those eyes that tell you that he’s in on the joke. Or if Summer will keep her poker face as the serious façade that covers up that huge smile when she knows it’s ok to let loose a little. Whether those things change or stay the same, always know that your mommy and daddy love you all the way, every day.
In other news, we have to give a report on your first birthday party since your mom is quite the event planner. The theme was hair bows and bow ties, and you guys were both adorable in your outfits (Summy, you were in a ridiculously poofy pink dress; Austin, you were in a collared shirt with a sweater vest and a bow tie). You guys will never remember it, but there will be a ton of pictures to memorialize it, and they will undoubtedly show how much time and energy your mom took to make the day amazing. There were all kinds of decorations with a coordinated color scheme, handmade hair bows and bow ties as party favors, cookies in those same shapes, lots of fun activities for you and all of your friends, and incredible chalkboard artworks that mommy made for each of you detailing some of your favorite things. When we brought out your smash cakes, you guys were very neat with how you ate it, probably partially because you had never eaten cake and icing, but also because you are such experienced eaters. For right now, it seems that you prefer goat cheese and portabello mushrooms over butter and sugar, but that probably won’t last for very long.
So, that’s all for this note. There are literally a million more things I could write, but at some point every writer has to decide when to put down his pen. The last thing I’ll say is thank you so much for making the last year the most incredible and memorable of my life. I love you both more than even seems possible, and yet somehow I really do love you more and more each day. I’ll check in again next month, and hopefully I’ll be in a much less sappy mood by then.