Oh my goodness, Derrick! I cannot believe you are ONE YEAR OLD today!
It's been one wild year, but here's a look at what the past month has been like...
- You are so close to walking, it's not even funny. You can stand alone with no problem, but you will not take that first step. When we try to get you to walk to one of us, you will look at us and smile, then sit down and crawl as fast as you can.
- You get very annoyed sometimes when you're trying to carry something in both hands and can't do your army crawl to get to where you're going with your items. You'll sit holding your stuff (usually two plastic eggs) and cry. It's pretty funny. Sorry!
- You do not like to crawl in the grass. You'll barely put your hands down and pull back up really fast.
- You have made a lot of new friends lately and are enjoying your busy social calendar. You still don't want us to leave you, but you feel comfortable playing without one of us holding you (although you don't go far). You especially LOVE big kids!
- You make the stinky face on demand. It is hilarious, and you do it all the time.
- You love, love, love to dance! You have this funny head move you do now along with your signature arm move. Anytime you hear music, your arm starts swinging. Sometimes when you're dancing on the wood floor and get your arm going, you spin all the way around...you have "the sprinkler" mastered! Daddy says that as soon as you're old enough we're going to enroll you in hip-hop class. (He's a little nervous about your "white boy" moves.)
so sneekysuch a big helper when it comes to loading and unloading the dishwasher.
(I was unloading the top rack when I looked down and this is what you were doing! I had no idea you were there...it's a good thing you're light! The camera happened to be sitting on the counter so I couldn't resist.)
- You have two bears (pronounced "bay-ya") you love and you're so sweet with them. You hug and kiss them, and really show that you love them. I'm hoping that you're able to show your bears love because you feel that kind of love from us. I think it's a sign that you're going to be a good daddy someday, and that makes my heart smile!
- You like to be covered up at night now when you sleep. When we tuck you in, you put your hands behind your head (yes, still) and smile and wiggle a little like you're snuggling down. At least one bear has to be sitting beside you and your mobile has to be turned on. Most of the time you don't cry, but sometimes you will say, "mama, mama" a few times. It hurts my heart when you do that, but it usually only last for a few seconds. Then you talk to bear for a few minutes and fall asleep.
(This was while we were in TN, where you also insisted on sleeping with your "ball")
- You talk A LOT! You carry on these conversations that we can't understand and you will just talk and talk.
- You can say "thanks" and "car."
- You are still fascinated with balls and books, and also love playing with your tractor.
- The more complicated the better when it comes to crawling.
- You like going on walks in your stroller or in your car. You have become quite obsessed with the stroller and car actually. If they're out, that's all you can focus on until we go for a walk. If we bring them inside, you start all over again.
- You aren't a fan of vegetables unless they are cooked with lots of flavor (as in smothered with butter, oil, or cream of something soup). We did discover that you like zucchini from the Japanese restaurant.
- You enjoyed all of your Easter candy (although someone should tell the Easter Bunny that it's not nice to give blue Peeps to cyanotic children!)
- You are SO FUNNY! You keep us laughing all the time!
The last few days have been quite emotional for me (which probably won't surprise you by the time you're able to read this). Part of me is sad that it's already your birthday. I wish you could stay a baby forever. But at the same time, I'm so excited to watch you grow up and become a man. I can only imagine the plans God has for you.
You are a true testiment that God performs miracles every day. You are proof that prayers are answered, although not always in the way we think they should be. When we first found out about your special heart, I prayed and prayed that the doctors were wrong. That when you were born they would see that you were fine and normal. Eventually I came to grips with your reality, and prayed that God would make something good come out of the pain you would endure. Through your strength, many people have seen and felt God's grace and mercy. They have seen Him work through your tiny body and special little heart. They have come closer to Him through you, and that makes me so proud.
Derrick, if I could, I would take away all of the pain and struggles you have gone through and all that you will face. I would go through every surgery and procedure over and over again if I could protect you from any of it. At the same time, I wouldn't take away your special heart. Facing these trials with you, having to give control of your precious life to strangers in the operating room, trusting that people who aren't your family will make the best decisions for you, has forced me to lift my hands and ask God to take full control of your life. I realize that even as your mommy, I can't kiss your boo boos and make them all better. I have to rely on God for that, and He does a much better job than I could even dream of. You have made me more patient and understanding, more compassionate, and more thankful. I have learned to celebrate and take time for the little things, because they are just as special if I take time to notice. Because of you, I am a much better person.
You have gone through more in your short little life than most people go through in a lifetime, and you're not finished yet. You never will be. You have many more medical hurdles, but you will have some social and personal ones as well. I hope that you always keep your spunk and zest for life that you have had this first year. I hope you stay true to who you are and always glorify God for the work He has done in you. You've made it to a milestone that way too many heart babies don't get to celebrate. I hope you remember that too, so that you can remember to be humble and thankful for the chances that you've been given. I am.
I hope you have a wonderful first birthday, Cheeks, with many, many more. I am so proud of you, and I love you more than words could ever say. You are incredibly special, and you have given me the best gift ever. You made me a mommy. I love you...to the moon and back!
Believe it or not son, your Dad does occasionally get to post a little something for you. It is hard to think about our life without you. You have touched so many lives. Sometimes I think about how special your Heart is. Your SPECIAL heart makes us appreciate EACH and EVERYTHING you do. Anytime I begin to get frustrated I just think about what a blessing you are and calm down (not an invitation to be WILD later, OK). You have given me courage and strengthened my faith in God. You are destined for great things and I know God has an awesome plan for you.
I love watching you learn new things, get into stuff you shouldn't, and talking like a big man. I so look forward to all of your new dance moves, words, and attitude for the next year. I love you more than you will EVER know. Thanks for blessing us every day!!! Happy Birthday!!! I love you "Dirk"!!!