One year ago I was enormously pregnant and it was the night before my scheduled C-section and I was so, so scared. Then we were at a hospital and waiting waiting waiting for the surgery to get underway and then all of a sudden, oh my god, then there was a baby.

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That was you, Dylan Emmett. You looked like a tiny elf when you were first born. Or maybe a hobbit, considering the relative size of your feet.

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When you were one month old I was struggling; loving you with all the helpless surging gallops of a mother’s heart but so humbled by the task of caring for you. Five months later life had taken on new, easier rhythms and I wished for the ability to slow the relentless acceleration of time so I could more thoroughly enjoy your squirrel-cheeked infanthood — but that’s not how it works, baby mine. Days tumble by at liquid speed and now it’s been an entire year since the day we first saw your face and I’m not sure I understand how that can be true, but I suppose it is. The evidence is everywhere, after all. Just look at you.

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At one year old you are insatiably curious, easily entertained, and you never sit still. You’re still crawling and can move at an alarming pace — I’ve watched you go scurrying from one end of the house to another, your chubby legs a blur and your hind end wiggling back and forth. You love to follow your brother into his bedroom (he shouts, “Come on, Dylan!” and you squeal with glee) and studiously pull yourself up on his easel in order to grab handfuls of crayons and scrawl across the paper, or traverse his floor examining one toy after another.

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It’s very easy to make you laugh, Dylan. You spend much of your time with your mouth wide open, giggling and clapping and generally being riotously happy and loud. You are delighted beyond all reason by the cat, who patiently endures your slobbery hugs and the way you bend your head down in her fur and rub your cheek against her. The other day you spoke your very first word, in honor of the kitty cat: gee gah! To be honest I was sort of gunning for “Mama”, but I suppose gee gah will do just fine.

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You are trying very, very hard to walk, and you can do so by holding our hands, taking great staggering, wobbly-legged strides like the mini-Godzilla you are, your face an open flower of pure joy. Sometimes you manage to stand up all by yourself, without hanging on to anything, and it is a startling image: you, just . . . standing there in the middle of the room.

You love most goo-ified foods and you are quite the dense little butterball at 23 pounds or so. I always carry you on my left side and I can only assume my spine is slowly developing a permanent curve from hefting you around. Oh, it’s a blissful weight, though, your body held in my arms. This I know from past experience: soon you won’t want to be carried. This is the last bit of time when it’s your greatest desire.

You and your brother have started playing together, even wrestling gently on the living room floor, and I don’t have the words for the happiness I experience when I see the two of you enjoying each other’s company. It is raucous headache-y chaotic perfection.

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I have this hopeful idea that someday in the future you and your brother will have access to these entries I’ve written — even the cuss words — and that you’ll have the opportunity to understand a little about my life and who I was as a person, way back when you were a baby and Mama was 34 years old. Maybe there will even be a day when you have a child of your own, and you will understand with great clarity what I mean when I tell you, right now, that you can be a wondrous, glorious pain in my ass. If you are easily entertained, you are even more easily frustrated, Dylan. A great portion of your day is spent complaining at top volume about one injustice or another, and sometimes I have to assume that the very air molecules surrounding you must be pissing you off, because for god’s sake, what else could it be?

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And if you are in many ways a much less suspicious baby than your brother was, well, sniglet, I hate to make comparisons but at least Riley slept through the night. I never thought I’d be so intimately familiar with the hour of 2 AM, and yet here we are, you and I, night after night.

I surely miss being able to sleep uninterrupted, but here is our routine when it comes time to putting you to bed: I hold you nestled in the crook of my left arm while you drink a bottle, and afterwards, you immediately start turning over in order to be held facefirst against my body. You pull your arms underneath you and burrow your nose into my chest until you find the most comfortable spot, and that’s how we stay, with the chair gently rocking and my lips brushing the top of your hair. I can feel the movement of your breathing, your belly warm against my own. It is a quiet, peaceful time of pure contentment, and how I love these moments with you. Even at 2 AM.

Sometimes in the midst of your full-throttle play you stop and suddenly crawl into the arms of your father or I with a joyful babbling squeal, and just take a quick break with your face buried in our arms, your eyes briefly closed in pleasure. I know you won’t always be this affectionate but I hope we are always a source of comfort, Dylan. I hope you always feel like you can come to us, because we will always, always be eager for you to do so. This I promise.

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You are growing so quickly and while I cannot wait to see the child you become, I want you to know how very much I love the baby you are now. You are so loved, by your parents, your brother, and even the long-suffering cat. Happy Birthday, Dylan Emmett. What an amazing year it’s been, and what an amazing boy you are.

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aimee
15 years ago

This is really, really beautiful! (P.S. I have a cousin named Dylan Emmett! He’s 16 now and a pretty cool kid.)

Stephanie
Stephanie
15 years ago

What a great entry. Happy Birthday Dylan! It’s crazy, because this means it’s been a year since I found your blog. I remember the day you had Dylan and seeing your updated posts as you were waiting for your C-section. Thanks Linda for letting us into your life!

Jess
Jess
15 years ago

Gorgeous! What an incredible letter to your son.
The last picture KILLED me…what a gorgeous shot.

My all time favorite line was the one about the molecules pissing him off….I am still laughing….

eve
eve
15 years ago

Thanks for making me cry at work! That was beautifully written.

biscuit
biscuit
15 years ago

thank God I read this while waiting for my primer to dry + not my mascara!

OMG so moving. I’m over here welling up because my baby (or should I say toddler *sniff*) turned one on Monday.

I still think Dylan + Maggie will get married one day. . . ;)

Amy
Amy
15 years ago

Wonderful. Perfect.

Happy, happy birthday, little guy. You lucky kid.

sara moon
sara moon
15 years ago

happy 1st birthday, Dylan! we all love your mama so much.
congratulations, linda. thank you for sharing your life with us. you do it beautifully.
xoxoxox

Kelli
15 years ago

Gaaah! Sniffling at my desk over here! What a perfect, beautiful, post. What a lovely little boy and what a wonderful Mama.

Happy 1st Birthday Dylan!

Shutter Bitch
15 years ago

Sob! That was absolutely gorgeous, and that last picture? I LOVE IT.

Thank you, Linda, for sharing your family’s lives with us. Your blog is my favorite because of your candor, your honesty, and the way you turn a phrase. I have honestly not had more of a range of emotion reading anyone else’s site, from snorting my morning coffee/coke/water through my nose (p.s. OJ hurts the sinuses) to sobbing with joy at your triumphs and guffawing at JB’s antics or your quirky humor, and I have to say I hope you keep writing here for years. Your happy little family reminds me what life is all about. So thank you for that.

Shutter Bitch
15 years ago

And I forgot to add, Happy Birthday, Dylan!

Eliza
Eliza
15 years ago

I am fully crying. Happy Birthday, cute boy.

little miss mel
15 years ago

Happy Birthday Dylan!

Lovely post. Can’t believe it’s been a whole year! I started reading you a month or two before you had him. I was expecting my second boy and enjoyed hearing about what was to come, honestly! (cringing here and there, too.)

Thanks for the ride!

Jamie
15 years ago

I cannot believe he is a year old! I cannot believe how trite that sounds! :)

Happy Birthday, Teeny D.

Joy
Joy
15 years ago

Happy First Trip Around The Sun!

Sam
Sam
15 years ago

You are an amazing mama – and one day, when these boys are grown, their future wives (I assume!) will quake in their boots because you are so very cool.

Happy birthday, Dylan! It’s so much fun watching you grow up.

Must Be Motherhood
15 years ago

Also sniffling at my desk. Happy birthday, little guy.

Amanda Brown
15 years ago

So sweet! Happy birthday, Dylan!

andee
15 years ago

Sniffling here, too. Happy Birthday, Dylan! :)

amy
amy
15 years ago

And what enormous feet you have. Seriously. ;^)

V sweet Linda. Happy birthday D!

Kristen
Kristen
15 years ago

That was beautiful. Happy Birthday Dylan!

Laura
15 years ago

Glad I’m not the only one crying in my cube over this…Happy birthday, Dylan!

Emerald
15 years ago

Omg, I nearly bawled at this, right at my reception desk. The poor, confused people staring at me must think I’m nuts! I can’t believe it’s already been a year! Look at those pictures! I can’t wait until Josh and I have our turn.

Here’s to many, many, many more awesome years!

jenny
jenny
15 years ago

Today I am sitting 40 weeks pregnant – the day before I am to go into the hospital to be induced. I read your blog everyday and laugh and cry and think your family is beautiful and hope that this little girl growing in my belly is as happy and energetic as yours!

I am scared and sooooooo ready to see this kid inside me.

When I read your post today I cried because you are so honest about how vulnerable you feel and yet you are such a good mom and have such wonderful kids.

I feel like I might be reading my life a year from now… and that helps.

Thank you for your posts and your honesty.

julia
julia
15 years ago

Happy birthday, baby D!

simply simple
15 years ago

this brought tears to my eyes. they grow up so fast and I hope that he will read this one day and his heart will melt.

Happy Birthday Dylan!

Brooke
15 years ago

Awwwwwww! And Eeeeeek! My son is not even two months younger than Dylan! His birthday is upon me!

Sarah
Sarah
15 years ago

Beautiful post, Linda! It brought tears to my eyes as I know so familiarly the feelings you expresss. My little girl will be 14 months on Saturday and oh, how the time flies. I wish a Happy, Happy Birthday to Dylan!!

nicoleantoinette
15 years ago

This is so beautiful. Happy Birthday Dylan!

Amber
Amber
15 years ago

I LOVED THAT! Happy Birthday Dylan!

Hadey
Hadey
15 years ago

I could have written that paragraph about bedtime routine myself. Only my 19 month old daughter (yes, she still gets a bottle, shame on me) always puts her entire left arm down the front of my shirt so she can cozy up to mama’s “boobah.” Pure bliss.

Jen
Jen
15 years ago

Fellow Seattleite delurking to say that was the most wonderful birthday tribute to a baby I’ve ever read. SO SWEET. I am a new mom to a 7-week-old boy, still struggling to figure this whole mommy thing out, and this gives me hope for the future. I just hope I can write about my boy’s first year with such wit and wisdom.

Happy Birthday to Dylan!

Shangrila
15 years ago

What a beautiful letter to your son! I write “birthday letters” to my kids, too, and so identified with many of the sentiments-although you’ve stated them far more eloquently than I ever could. A little misty, over here! Happy Birthday, Baby!

LJ
LJ
15 years ago

How sweet – the letter and Dylan. Cherish these times. My youngest is now 16. The time flies. Dylan looks so much like JB’s brother.

Heather
15 years ago

Holy crap that made me tear up! As I look at my son, now 6 months old…and then his sister, 6 YEARS old, I am all too familiar with the insidious passage of time. How you write about it…it’s amazing. Thank you for your honesty and, also, if I WERE a zombie (not sayin’ I am) I would have to eat your brains…just soes I could steal your writing ability…(“your face an open flower of pure joy” I mean COME ON…where the hell is your book already!!!!)

She Likes Purple
15 years ago

Happy birthday, Dylan!

Mandy
Mandy
15 years ago

Crying now. So sweet! Happy Birthday Dylan!

Melanie
Melanie
15 years ago

Hi, I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now, but I have not commented yet. I felt I had to with this post though it was beautifully written and I think he will love reading it some day when he’s older. I wish that my mom had written or documented more about my early years. It would be great to read what I was like at one years old. Happy Birthday to Dylan!

Marie Green
15 years ago

Happy Birthday Dylan. You have one cool family. Your mom rocks!

Red
Red
15 years ago

Happy Birthday, Dylan! You got yourself one awesome mom right there.

I’m making my husband read this post so maybe he will finally get WHY I want #2!

Amanda
15 years ago

awww….Happy Birthday, Dylan!

MissAnna
MissAnna
15 years ago

This is fabulous.

Nichole
15 years ago

This is the sweetest. Happy birthday, Dylan!

amber
15 years ago

I still love that picture of Dylan in the little beanie cap with his enormous feet, SO much. He’s a beautiful baby, and a beautiful boy – just like Riley.

racher
15 years ago

Oh, the last picture. Love. Love love love.

Marieka
Marieka
15 years ago

Delurking to say that this post and the pictures that accompanied it brought tears to my eyes.

Your blog is something special, Linda.

Louise
Louise
15 years ago

“In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights,
in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife”

Sounds like you experienced the year described in the song. Ah, the life of a parent and newborn.

“It’s time now to sing out, tho the story never ends let’s celebrate remember a year in the life of friends”

Happy Birthday Dylan, may year two be as much fun and joyous for you as year one was.

Tia
Tia
15 years ago

Thanks for always sharing these letters with us. I love all your post but I have to say these are some of my favorites. I think you should do a book with all these letters written to the boys. Even the one about enforced naptime!(personal fav)
Anyway, I hope Mr. Dylan has a wonderful 1st birthday and gets his way all day long! Welcome to toddlerhood dear boy!

Lori O
15 years ago

Tears! Such a nice letter to Dylan. I, too, hope your boys can access your blog someday in some form. It will be something so cherishable to them.

jakesmom
jakesmom
15 years ago

Happy Birthday to your sweet baby boy! Reading your entry reminded me of my little boy when he was a baby. He’s now 15! Time flies!!! Thank you for sharing it all with us!

Kate
15 years ago

So beautiful.

Happy Birthday Dylan!