When I pictured this moment during our pregnancy, I had all the typical first birthday dreams. I thought about outfits, and cute party hats, and an elephant cake you would smash more than eat. I thought about family, and packed photo books, and maybe a few presents. But mostly just love.
I loved you before you ever existed. I loved you in the clarity of that definitive second line. I loved you every moment of our nine long months of pregnancy; bouts of nausea, hiccups, kicks, and beautifully permanent tiger stripes.
I loved you through anxiety in our overdue last week. I loved you in the moment when you kicked for the last time. I loved so much, that when they said you were gone, I didn't believe them. I loved so much, I still waited to hear you cry.
The memories I've made this year are ever tinged with sadness. Your absence is palpable. My arms will always ache. And I'll never give you trinkets, or white sugar frosting, but I can give you this -- I can carry you with my love. I can carry you into the world.
These words are your legacy. These stories are my love. And as long as they are written, you will never truly die.
Happy Birthday to my dear, sweet baby boy. May you have many, many more.