Jude Theodore was born on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at 6:20am. In honor of this being the very last Wednesday before Jude turns ONE, I decided that I needed to share something I wrote for him back when he was two months old. I’ve spent a lot of time this week going down memory lane, (some of these videos I took of Jude are pure GOLD), but really nothing has been as special as going back and reading different things I wrote for him when we were in the thick of sleep deprivation and complete bliss over our love for this special little boy. Even with the sleepy middle of the night hallucinations and all of the pain of delivery, I’d do it all again for Jude.
The moment you were born I knew I was done for. It happened in that one instant where all ten toes joined your little ears and nose in the world – the adrenaline and pure stubborn will to push you out right away escaped my body without even a backward glance and what rushed in? Exhaustion and hunger, oh yes… the hunger of a beast waking up from hibernation. But before I even had a chance to consider these new pains, I saw you and my life was filled with more joy and love than I had ever thought possible. There you were. You were here. You had a face and a little body and strong legs that kicked the air just as they had done not too long ago inside of me. I had protected you for forty long weeks and now you were here and safe and the shock of your arrival was finally starting to set in.
Labor had been hard on both of our bodies and so your first moments of life were spent getting cleaned off. Your daddy stood in between us turning back and forth from me to you, and as I watched your little body over his shoulder it hit me that you were OUR son. Of course I already knew this for many months: I was filled with the hope that you wouldn’t leave me from the moment we found out that I was pregnant; the afternoon we found out you were a boy we celebrated at our special restaurant and dreamed about what we would name our little boy; and when we started buying the clothes and the baby items that we would need I started imagining the life we would have with you. All of those moments were special and real, but nothing was as perfect and wonderful as the moment that I saw you and I saw your daddy and I knew that I was your mommy and your daddy was your daddy and in my head I was screaming, “WE ARE A FAMILY.”
The next hour, the next day, the next week rushed by in a blur like an old VHS tape on fast forward. I look back now and see the faint glimpses of your perfect little body mixed in with all of the faces of people who were so excited to meet you and the exhaustion of being a new mommy. I wouldn’t give you up for anything but I missed my sleep and I didn’t get much to eat and my body and emotions were so tired from pushing myself to be the best mommy I could be for you, even though taking care of you was never hard. From the beginning you were so perfect. You slept and you only cried when you were hungry and you were so strong when the doctor weighed you and announced that within less than a week you had gained back your birth weight and more. Just like that your daddy and I were celebrating the small wins of parenthood and rejoicing that our son had gained a few more precious ounces; and then we each silently fought over who would get to push you in your stroller back to the car and I let your daddy win because watching him love you is just so awesome.
Those first few weeks passed so quickly and before I knew it you were almost a month old. The visitors slowed down and the sleep found it’s way back into my life and out of nowhere a family routine settled. You began smiling and cooing and it didn’t matter who you met or what we were doing, you were and still are the most relaxed and cheerful little baby I’ve ever known. Even when you get a little bit fussy because I was greedy and kept you awake too long, all I have to do is pick you up and hold you to my chest and instantly you are happy and sleep comes a little too quickly for my liking.
But of all these moments there is one that I hold the closest and I don’t know if anything will ever compare to that first special moment that I looked into your eyes and saw your future. You had just eaten and you were awake and alert with light in your eyes as you looked up at me and I looked down at you. It was the first of our many staring and smiling contests and I was adamant about winning because I did not want to lose a single moment of this baby time with you that I would never get back. I told myself that I couldn’t look away and I couldn’t be distracted because I needed to be right here, right there with you and present in that special moment. As I looked down into your bright little eyes I realized that these were the eyes of my future son. Your features might change and your body will grow, but these eyes will always be your eyes no matter the color. These are the eyes that will look at me when you are six months and maybe not too far off from crawling and the eyes that will look up at me as you turn a year old and master the art of using your soft little feet for walking.
Life with you will already be so much different in one year but that is not even close to the end of the changes that will come. As you looked back at me and smiled, I saw that these are the eyes of my five-year-old little boy starting school, the eyes of my teenage son learning to drive, and the eyes of my Jude when he is a man and not so little anymore but always my son. I looked into your eyes and saw all of the learning and adventures and love that I want to give you. I saw basketball games with your daddy and comfy reading time with your mommy and adventures to far-off places together as a family. I saw the world as I want you to see it: bright, beautiful, and full of potential for good. I saw you through your eyes and watched you grow and right there I knew that I was always going to be so proud of everything you accomplished.
As quickly as the moment started it was over and we went from a staring contest into a conversation battle to see who could talk the most before giving up. That’s how life with you will be, moving from one moment to the next and conquering new milestones as we go. I promise to always take each moment as slowly as possible, to be present in the moment, to not look back with regret or forward with anxiety. Your daddy and I will love each and every moment of your growing up to the fullest and we will never try to rush you or slow you down. Most of all, I promise to always see your family and the world from your eyes – I’ll try to remember what it was like to be a curious child, a stormy teenager, a struggling young adult. We want to give you the best of everything that life has to offer and I know it is going to be an amazing ride watching the future that I saw in your eyes unravel into the present.