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A Letter to My Son on His One-Year Birthday

Dear Preston,

I can’t believe it’s been a year already. You came into this world on August 29, 2009 at 11:39 a.m. via a scheduled c-section, at 7 lbs., 5 oz., 20 ½ inches tall. And whoa, was I nervous. Not to become a mom, no, I was nervous for the surgery. So much so they had to sedate me before I even made it into the OR. You should’ve seen how cute your dad looked in his scrubs though – like a giddy new father, he couldn’t wait to meet you. Thank god he was able to keep me calm while we waited and waited for the good doctor to deliver you. Dr. Sibul is his name, and he’s one of the finest OB-GYNs in Chicago. Only the best for my baby! So what if his watch seems to be two hours behind everyone else’s…

The surgery wasn’t fun, I’m not gonna lie, but I’ll never forget that moment when the doctor lifted you above the curtain for us to see that we had birthed a beautiful and healthy baby boy. Time stood still as Daddy held you up to me so I could take a closer look at what I had created from scratch. You came out perfect! And you barely made a peep your first few hours in this world…hard to believe, considering you’re my child. Every time I held you in the hospital, I could hardly see past my own tears – I’ve never known a love like this. It wasn’t everything I dreamed it would be – it was much more.

Preston at birth

The first people in the family to come see you were my mom and dad, who sat in the waiting room for about four hours before you were born. Then your Aunt Kim and Uncle Michael showed up with your cousins, Koby, Joe and Emma. Kids under 12 aren’t even allowed in the maternity ward, so we had to tell the nurses that they were MY kids. That’s how bad everyone wanted to meet you! They called you Baby G before you were born, and your cousins brought a sign to the hospital that said, “Welcome Baby G!” It’s still up in my parents’ house, one year later. Maybe one day that sign will make its way into your college dorm room. (Or maybe not.)

This sign is still up in my parents' house, one year later.

The first three months of your life, a.k.a. my maternity leave from work, were blissful. Daddy was able to be home with me every day to help take care of you – it was a great bonding experience for all three of us, we had such a blast even if we didn’t know what the heck we were doing. Daddy was also the first one to swaddle you in the hospital, and he was a pro by the time we went home to fend for ourselves with a new baby to care for. Thank god fatherhood comes so naturally to him. From the minute you were born, your dad has always known exactly what to do to take care of you.

You were a pretty good sleeper from the start. We used to keep you up late in the beginning, because A) Mommy and Daddy are night owls and like to watch a lot of bad TV, and B) We couldn’t get enough of you; we were on such a natural new-parent high. So, by the time you went to bed around midnight/1 a.m., there was only one more middle-of-the-night feeding we had to do. And by the time I went back to work, we had you on a pretty good sleep/feeding schedule. But going back to work was pretty hard for me – even after nine months at this point, leaving your sweet, smiling face every morning is a killer. The only thing that gets me through the day is knowing I have you to come home to, and that Daddy is taking good care of you while I’m at work. What does Mommy do, you might wonder? Don’t worry, it’ll make you the envy of all your friends when you’re older…I’ll explain what Playboy is when you’re 30.

At only four months old, you said your first word: “dadda!” And at eight months you finally said “mama.” I even have the witnesses to prove it! You were a very verbal baby, and so incredibly aware – clearly you get this from me. I’ve always thought you understood much more than you are able to let on. The other day you started doing the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” yourself, and you like to do it just as I’m putting you to bed to buy a few more minutes of playtime. You’re a smart kid, Preston. We’ve already reserved your spot at Harvard.

Preston at 6 months (Credit: Joe Silverberg Photography)

But the best part about you is how happy you are, every single day, no matter what. You wake up with a big smile on your face, and you go to sleep that way too. You love to giggle; you even know how to make me giggle. I can already see that you have a goofy side, and you’re going to be one of those people that other people are naturally drawn to. You should see the way people fawn over you in our family – all your cousins love hanging out with you, and so do your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends. You are the apple of everyone’s eye, especially ours. And you seem to love the attention.

Preston was a ring bearer in our cousin's wedding on his birthday yesterday.

There hasn’t been a single day in the last year that I haven’t appreciated how lucky we are to have you as our son. You have brought so much happiness and love into our lives this past year. The day you were born was life changing for me. I know every new parent says this, but it’s true: You never knew you could love anything this much, till you have kids of your own. I’m so glad you were our first born, too, it’s because of you that I can’t wait to do it all over again. I know it won’t be the same the next time, but I know you’re going to be a great big brother and you’re going to try to make it easy on both of us. Right?

Happy 1st birthday, Preston – you’re the love of my life. The cutest baby in the entire world. The sweetest boy I’ve ever known.  I’m so proud to be your mom. Dad and I love you very much.