Dear baby boy,
You're about to turn a year old. One year. Good lord, how much can happen in a year?! I'm writing this now because this weekend will be CRAZY, and I don't want it to be late. More than anything else, love, I want you to know that you are by far the best thing to ever happen to your Daddy and me. You have made this year hard - there's no question. Your bouts with teething, your curiosity (read: your desire to get into EVERYTHING), your transitions between being needy and independent, and your ardent refusal to stay in one place for an elongated amount of time have all been trying for Daddy and me, to say the least.
Your inexpressible joy, amidst ear/sinus infections, stomach troubles, and trying for FOREVER to cut teeth, is contagious. Infectious, even. Your presence affects people around you - no one can come into our apartment, see you smile at them and continue to be sad or stressed out. I'm not just saying that as a biased mom, either - people have told us that you bring joy into their joyless days. You are your namesake - you are God's gift of joy to everyone around you. You are also very smart. I don't know what will happen in the future, and as I fight the worry that longs to sink me, I know God has given you an appetite for the creative...music, reading, detailed learning, etc. You can find and pick up the smallest, tiniest piece of whatever off the floor (and subsequently attempt to eat it, even when you look at us first and we're looking back at your disapprovingly. Ahem.) You love to 'play' with books, turning the pages, throwing them, laughing at them - my hope is that this morphs into a love of reading eventually. If it doesn't, your daddy and I will be very sad, but it will be okay. Most of all, you adore anything musical - your face lights up when there's music on the TV, whether it's in a commercial, a music video, or a cartoon. You can already sense changes in the mood of a show by the changes in the music. We bought you a Baby Einstein music player toy, and you were overjoyed. You love to bang on things, and have played drums on your toy box, the table, the chairs, the walls, your crib, etc. You've started dancing, which consists of bending down and coming back up, tapping your foot, and bopping to the beat. You love to clap and make fun noises, which, unfortunately for our ears, includes a LOT of screaming at very high pitches. Your mommy hopes this will develop into an awesome singing range at some point...I want to sing with you, to you and for you.
At this stage in life, you are ALMOST walking - you're so close, it's scary. My heart soars and breaks every time you take a step by yourself, but you are very determined (in everything) to do it at your pace and in your time. You are teaching your parents so much in that. So often, we want to rush through things because they need to get done, essentially valuing the urgent over the important, but we're trying to learn otherwise. Your joy in the smallest things added to your very serious work ethic (i.e. play) is teaching us to slow down and be present. I'm dumbfounded at the amount you're teaching us, baby. I pray it continues to be that way - that we can learn from each other for the rest of our life together.
You are definitely an independent first born - I already miss cuddles
and sleeping with you, but I'm thoroughly enjoying each new stage. You definitely have your parents' stubborn streaks. (Yes, your daddy has one, even if he won't admit it. To anyone.) I can already foresee struggles in this area, so we're starting to pray about it now. We also want to cultivate your sweet heart, and by the grace of God, keep you as innocent as we can in this strange world we live in. Part of me wants to apologize for bringing you up in such crazy times, but I'm reminded that I'm a control freak, and can do nothing about these crazy times. All I can do as your mom is to trust that God has you in his hands, he has an awesome plan for you, and I am privileged to be a part of it all. Your daddy and I have been through some really hard times in this first year of life for you, but if you remember anything, I hope and pray you remember the good times, the humility we're both trying to use with each other, and that no matter what, you are loved and we love each other.
I don't feel like this letter can be long enough, so I'll stop it here. I'm so thankful to God for giving you to us - you make this life worth it, Isaac. Happy birthday.