August 31, 2006

At first his eyes were blue-grey, although it was hard to tell. They were often narrowed against this strange world. They became hazel, a confusing kaleidoscope of colors, as though he was flipping through his choices: now greenish, now amber, now slate. Now they are brown, like my own.

His hair was red for a while. We shook our heads and grinned with helpless, silly pride (redhead!), then we did the same thing when it turned blonde (towhead!). Maybe it will turn purple and we will smile and say, oh, well, purple, now that’s something.

In a year he has learned to laugh, to clap, to scream, to crawl and stand. He can say “backpack” (ba pa!) and he can give me five and he can stomp down the hall, a mini Godzilla, while holding our hands. Every day there is something new. Every day. It is like peering into a shell, turning it in your hands and following its whorls; it is like some great and glorious flower unfurling before your eyes.

(The everyday things you do, Riley, sometimes make me blink back hot stunned tears of pride. I marvel at it all, because you did not receive the memo that said your development is not unique, that this is not worthy of openmouthed joy. How could we be anything but amazed by you, when you are so amazing?)

In a year I have learned so much. I have been strong and I have been weak. I have been an imperfect mother (is there any other kind?), I have been proud, I have been festooned with guilt.

(Oh, but you can be a misery. You can be a pill, little boy. Sometimes I heave great sighs and pinch the bridge of my nose and I ask no one in particular what your problem is, because damn. You are willful, short-tempered, demanding. You force me to dig within myself for hidden reserves and strength. You are the brightest, most beautiful of challenges.)

I have grown, and my love for my boy has grown; it is a breathtaking thing, holy and fierce. I daydream about him, I moon, I miss him when I cannot see him. I kiss his face and feel as though I could shatter into a thousand pink balloons, just from the touch of his skin. I want a magic wand to wave over his future, I want to whisper promises of a charmed life into his ear.

My thoughts go in dark corners and I think of adults who hurt children and how if that ever happened to him I would break laws and bones I would oh I would how could you not.

I hold him at night when he is tired and we read books together. He burrows his head into my chest. I tickle him and he screams with laughter. I chase him, arms outstretched, while he rides on his dad’s shoulders. I hold my arms out to him and he runs on the tops of his knees, straight into my embrace. He reaches gentle fingers up to touch my hair.

It is so big, this job of being his mother. He is pure, innocent, he embodies a sweetness of life that we humans try to define with gods and myth. Here is my wish for his happiness, and my breath on the candle. Here is the gladness that spills from me. Here is my promise: that I will carry him with me, wherever I go. Here is my plea: that I will do right by him.

In a year so much has happened. It went by so quickly. I say, stop the earth from spinning and time from passing, for just the briefest of moments, for today is my son’s birthday.

(My heart is full, my life is rich. Happy first birthday, little one.)

:::

(Alternate movie link. Music: Carl Orff’s Gassenhauer.)

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Holly
Holly
15 years ago

Book deal, you seriously need a book deal… I don’t care what you write about, I’d read it! So beautiful! :) -h

Chiara
15 years ago

Love you, miss you. All of you.

Martha
Martha
15 years ago

You make me want to have a child. How can I possibly go through life without experiencing emotions like that?

Carolyn J.
15 years ago

Riley’s like my little friend and I’ve never even met him. I forgot how much he’d grown! Happy Birthday dude.

eileen
eileen
15 years ago

i’ve been repeatedly visiting all day so i can watch that video..the feel-good video of the year! happy birthday, riley!

Pagne
15 years ago

Here’s a wish for his good health and happiness too. Happy Birthday, Riley.

That video needs some kind of glee overload warning.

Alex
15 years ago

Sundry! Holy god almighty, woman, that was amazing and beautiful and touching and creative and enertaining and oh my word. I’m in tears here, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I hope this doesn’t sound creepy, ‘cuz it’s sure not meant that way, but I sort of feel like some sort of Internet Auntie (Intertie?) who takes such pride and joy in watching Riley grow. Happy, happy birthday to him.

JAB
JAB
15 years ago

That was absolutely beautiful and the video was terrific!

Kari
Kari
15 years ago

Man, and I told myself I wouldn’t cry when I watched the video…
I need to do that with all the millions of videos we have of Starla… And I need to leave out the one of me drugged up at the hospital.
Happy Happy Happy late birthday Riley! I’ve greatly enjoyed your first year. ^_^

sylvia
sylvia
15 years ago

I smiled and smiled all the way through, and then I was surprised to have to blink away tears. Sooo amazing. Happy birthday, Riley!

Cali911Gal
Cali911Gal
15 years ago

That was simply awesome!

Happy Birthday Riley!

Gentry
15 years ago

Must. Impregnate. Myself. Now. You can already tell that when Riley’s older, his parents are going to be the “cool parents.”

teresa
teresa
15 years ago

Amazing video! Happy Birthday Riley!

Ter
Ter
15 years ago

Happy first birthday Riley! What an awesome video! It’ll be fun to watch it again when he reaches the big milestones (first day of school, graduation, etc.)

alicia
alicia
15 years ago

Happy Birthday Riley! The video brought tears to my eyes! Sniff.. All the best to you Riley on your special day.

R.J. Anderson
15 years ago

Wonderful post, delightful video, happy birthday Riley, and happy one-year-of-motherhood to you! I still have a week to go, and am terrible at taking pictures let alone editing lovely videos together, but there will be cake.

suzanna danna
15 years ago

This was so fantastic. Great editing and the boy, he is delicious and precious and wonderful and his future is so incredibly bright. Congratulations on making in through the year Linda & JB… and Riley, Happy Birthday!

LeAnne
15 years ago

That is probably one of the best “First Year” videos I have ever seen – All I did was have a book put together on Shutterfly. This makes me want to use my video camera more often!! Monkey just turned one also, it’s exciting and sad at the same time.

geri
geri
15 years ago

Happy Birthday Riley! And Linda and JB, congratulations on your first anniversary as parents. You have raised yourself one gorgeous, precious boy. My cheeks hurt from grinning through your wonderful video. That kid is just priceless.

trackback
15 years ago

Happy Birthday Riley

Filed under: Blogs I should probably stop gushing about her before she wipes my slimy hands off her sleeve,

Araz
Araz
15 years ago

Sundry – I started reading your blog just over a year ago, and since then have read all your archives as well as following the progress of your family over the past year. I think Riley’s birthday is a good time to de-lurk to tell you what an amazing woman I think you are. Your writing is gorgeous and moves me to both tears and laughter, sometimes at the same time. I don’t even have the right words to tell you how much I admire you and how much I wish a wonderful life for you, JB and Riley. You are such a caring and loving mother to your little boy – he is lucky, and he is an amazing, beautiful baby.

Happy Birthday to Riley, and to your family.

Liss
15 years ago

Oh my. I am actually wiping a tear. I don’t ever get tugged at the heart strings. Thanks for sharing that with us. Makes me wonder about my own life.

PS – Happy Birthday Mr. Riley, fellow Virgo!

Felicia
Felicia
15 years ago

Thank you for sharing Riley’s first year. He is beautiful, and the way you write about him brought me to tears. What a wonderfully lucky child, to have parents that love him and celebrate him so very much. May blessings rain down on your family.

sungoddess
15 years ago

Thanks for writing such a beautiful tribute to a year of motherhood, and congrats on surviving it. The video is absolutely adorable! Your boy is gorgeous and he looks like he had a good time this last year.

Blessings and Good Things!!

ndela

ana
ana
15 years ago

Happy Birthday, Riley! You make my heart feel happy, little dude…

Sonia (DDM)
15 years ago

Bawling my eyes out. What a beautiful movie. Happy First Birthday RILEY!!!!!

shannon
15 years ago

that made my heart feel full.

Happy Birthday Riley!

Nicole
Nicole
15 years ago

It sure does go by fast. My little girl will be 1 year on 10/23. i look at her everyday and i am always in amazment of how much she has grown, developed and learned. And this little guys sure is sweet and the video was great good job. Happy Bday little guy.

katie d
15 years ago

That is a stunningly beautiful entry. Riley is the luckiest little boy on the entire face of the planet. You made me cry. I hope he has the happiest, most wonderful life anyone ever had. And that all of you have long, incredible lives full of joy. kd

Amy
Amy
15 years ago

You are an adorable and loving family! So beautiful to see :)

gen
gen
15 years ago

what a great video!!

happy birthday riley!!!

Jeanette
15 years ago

Once again, you have perfectly described the very essence of what motherhood is all about!Beautiful!!!

Louise
Louise
15 years ago

I applaud you – that movie is absolutley WONDERFUL !!!!!

TB
TB
15 years ago

Beautiful

awittykitty
15 years ago

Lucky kid. Lucky parents. Looks like a wonderful life ahead. Happy birthday, Riley.

Leah
15 years ago

Absolutely triumphant, in a quiet, baby way. What a sweetie.

fellowmom
fellowmom
15 years ago

I couldn’t blink back my “stunned hot tears”– for him, for my boys, for you, for me. It’s been a trying week, but it is “the brightest, most beautiful of challenges.” High cheese factor on this comment, but you really got to me today. thanks And happy Riley’s birthday to your family.

trackback

[…] This post by Sundry, today, her son’s first birthday, is making my ovaries hurt. Watch the video, it is SO worth it. Posted by Jenny @ 9:00 pm   […]

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15 years ago

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Jaidnoire
14 years ago

I’m hella late (discovered both this blog and PIAF recently) but this post made me cry here @ work. Your writing is phenomenal, seriously. It doesn’t help that I’m 6mths pg, anticipating my little man’s arrival. Happy Belated 1st Birthday to Riley! I, too, loved the Video – the newborn stage, the fish face and how he looks like JP until that beautiful smile at the end that is totally you…

Victoria
14 years ago

oh. just so lovely.

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