To my Baby Duck, turning One,

My sweet, loving, joyful, sometimes mischievous, often laughing, occasionally temperamental, always wonderful little boy, I can’t believe it, but, it’s your first birthday. What a year it has been. A year I didn’t expect, but one that has changed me. God used you, little man, even as a tiny baby, to do big work in your mama. We didn’t know, when we gave you a name meaning “man of prayer, man of God,” how much those two things would be true already. I’m so thankful that God gave us you, that he used you, someone so beautiful and so sweet and so worth the fight, to teach your mama to fight. Your smiles have been rewards along the journey of the past year, when we didn’t let PPDA win. 

You light up my world every single morning as you wake up with giant smiles and laughter.

I never knew how much my heart needed the love of a son-so different from the love of a daughter-until the first morning I woke up to that smile. 

So many people-especially those who know you well, marvel at what a serene and happy guy you are, and I’m so proud and washed over with thankfulness for you and the things you teach me every day. Life is neither a race or a competition, and there is so much to enjoy that we might miss if we focus on and worry about the wrong things. There’s no hurry, and sometimes things are so much sweeter after a long wait. God taught me that through my wait for babies, and he’s taught it to me again as I’ve gotten to know you, my laid back smiley, but oh so full of personality guy. 

You’re detail oriented, which is precious as you explore and stare at tiny things, but also exhausting, because you can find things to put in your mouth even right after we vacuum!! 

You hate wearing shoes, but boy oh boy do you love to play with (and try to chew on) them! Dadda and I joked about just getting you a pair of adult sneakers for your birthday. The squeals of joy when you manage to crawl to the pile of shoes by the front door without being intercepted are beyond precious. 
You are finally getting interested in food-who would have thought that the baby who we had to fight for for months to nurse well would be content with it solely for so long! You reaaaaaally love your pears, though, and often want to try whatever mama has-though I rarely have let you so far. I bet when you get those molars, you’re gonna go to town on whatever you can! 
Declan, I love so many many things about you, from your wild and crazy red hair, your Dadda’s beautiful blue eyes that sparkle back at me when you smile, the pride on your face when you do something new (right now it’s pulling to stand!), all the way to your chubby toes, but there is one gift of you that stands out from the rest: 

The way you and your sister love each other. It’s beyond my dreams and hopes, and the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Every morning when it’s time to get her up, I look at you and say “Declan, are you ready to get your Lexi?” And your face lights up. I set you down outside her room, and you crawl in squealing as you hear her voice. I love when you two play quietly, the squeals and laughs when you wrestle, and the way you miss her when she’s not around. Sometimes you crawl to her room and bang on her door after she’s in bed. 

And yes, you are Mama’s Boy.  

You love Sissy and Dadda, but boy howdy if you don’t call for your Mamama! A bajillion times a day, and if any tears don’t immediately stop in my arms. And I love it. I love your hand on my cheek or stroking my arm while you nurse, the sneak attack kiss, and the hugs so tight my heart might burst. 

I love you, my fluffy Duckling, and I’m so thankful to be your mama and excited for all the fun ahead. 

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