I am well aware that he celebrated his 15 month birthday this past weekend. And since month 4, through continents and hotels and temporary moments, into a time of transition and accustoming and settling, we have still been marking his months. It is the fullness of the moments that have left them unshared, though not unsavored.
There is some advantage to going back through his months by retrospect. There is something about looking back that brings a deeper smile than the one I wore in the moments after. At the time, there was an image I wanted to capture, a look that defined the month, his true self, and the edge of disappointment or frustration when that envisioned image did not form on the other side of the lens. Now as I look at them, at him, I only see the image that is, not the one I wanted it to be. It is the moment that truly was instead of any moment that I wanted to force into being.
So here are the 12 moments that were. That were him, in his exhaustion or drool or frustration or elation. The moments that represent the reality of him in the moment, the 28th of each month for a year. [To take a look back to that day he met us here, see his story].
And then there is her. The sister, the doter, the antagonist, the assistant, the distractor, the frustrater, the absolute pure lover. Them, together, my soul rejoices and my heart swells in gratitude. Really, God? Me, for this joy? Thank you.
This year (plus!) with him. So full in its expectation and fruition. His personality both formed at birth and forming as he grows. Laid back and observant of the world, often satisfied to sit back, to take it in from his daddy’s lap or his mama’s arms. His daddy’s biggest fan—always greeting with a spontaneous heart-filled smile and full-speed crawl to his waiting arms. He loves the air, and the exhilaration of the weightless flight. Over and over and over, breathless giggles. He throws himself backward, dangerously close to being released head first onto the floor, just for the exhilaration of seeing the world from upside down, blood rushing to and from his head. Giddy for more. His squinty smile face, mirroring mine in exuberance, is impressed on my heart and in my mind, with prayers it never fades. And dancing, always dancing. To the song I didn’t even notice, with moves that would make Michael Jackson proud. The smile that evokes expression from every person at the grocery store, like a gift for them, and a smile returned. The way he responds to his sister—with expectation, complete role model, the one who can evoke all emotion, hugs and sweet lean-in-for-it kisses.
And a favorite, the moment he rests his head and sucks hard on his thumb, against my chest, as I sing a soft song of Hope in the darkness of their room and then release him into dreamland. Gratefulness and a prayer for his future all wrapped up in that one moment every night. “That he will shine among them like stars in the sky as he holds firmly to the word of life.” That he lives full and kind and bold, never losing that smile.