In a few weeks you'll be a 1-year-old. While it seems like just yesterday you were born, this year has also seemed to last forever. Honestly, the month of March alone could've been a year of our lives.
We'll never forget this first birthday, dear baby. Our memories of this special time will be stamped with the historic stain that is the COVID-19 global pandemic.
I remember planning for your older brother's birthday party a couple years ago. I had many concerns back then, which all seem so trivial now. What theme will we choose? Did I make festive enough decorations? What's the protocol—do we serve alcohol to the adults? How many cupcakes will we need?
None of that matters this time around. Actually, it probably never mattered then either. Your brother doesn't remember that party any more than you'll remember this one. Now my concerns take a different shape.
Have I stocked our pantry with enough food for our family? When will you get to see your grandparents again? How are our friends doing? Will Daddy lose his job once the economic ramifications of this virus catches up? How do I make a mask using scrap fabric and hair ties? What if one of you gets sick?
This is what occupies my mind in place of streamers and birthday cakes.
But regardless of the toll this pandemic has and will continue to bring to the world, you deserve to be celebrated. You've been a bright ray of sunshine in the storm of uncertainty.
You've reminded us to pause and soak up the small moments of pure joy. You've grown tremendously and developed quite a personality all your own. Your dad and I like to joke around about what a cute troublemaker you're shaping up to become. We love you abundantly, and can't wait to watch you grow up.
When this milestone birthday comes around, I promise you'll be surrounded by love. Physically, you'll have Mommy, Daddy and your big brother's presence to help you celebrate. The other love will be from afar, yes, but that doesn't make it any less strong.
Your grandparents, aunt, uncles, cousins—they're eagerly awaiting the day they can hug you and hold you tightly. They're grieving the fact they can't wish you a happy birthday in person. And I'm grieving right along with them.
I've come to realize that a child's first birthday party is much more for the adults than the child, but I don't think that's a negative thing. It's a gathering of loved ones celebrating how much their lives have been positively changed by a special kiddo. And this time, we were looking forward to celebrating you, my baby.
For the sake of being safe and responsible, that won't be happening in a traditional way. Not this spring, anyway. I promise to make this up to you. (And—in a way—to myself, too.)
But we will still celebrate, little one. Your first birthday is not canceled. We will still laugh and play and marvel at your being. And so, my baby for not much longer, happy birthday.
We'll make sure you have everything you need in the comfort of our home. Your birthday will be spent in footie pajamas cuddled on the couch, us laughing at your adorable antics. We'll FaceTime our extended family and if there aren't too many substitutions on my online grocery order, I'll bake you a cake. I'll sing off-key and your brother will blow out your candle in the true and messy fashion of a toddler giving the weather instead of the news.
And when you're older, we'll laugh and reminisce about you turning one while the world was quarantined. It'll certainly be one for the baby book.
It'll certainly be one we will always remember.
We love you.
Mommy and Daddy