Dang. I can’t believe we’re here. I can’t believe we have been the #GourleyPartyof4 for 366 days. Just, what?! Where does time go? Why does it seem to go more quickly when you have all of the things you want? As we have approached this big first birthday, I have had so many thoughts swirling for all of the members of our little tribe that I could only spill them all out here.
You have been a daddy for a year. This is unbelievable to me. Remember a year ago (+ a day, probably) when I was sobbing in the hospital room because we were being induced the next day and had lost our plan, our schedule, and our last weekend together? I laid with you in that weird little pull-out loveseat because we would never get to cuddle as a family of 2 ever again. Then I had to get up because we couldn’t all be monitored while I laid down.
This year has been insane…and also not. In so many ways I’ve felt like this was craziness, but there have also been so many moments when it’s seemed like we were made for this. I know we waited for so long and at the same time? It’s like we didn’t wait at all because THESE are the babies that were meant for us. Clearly. You have been amazing to them, but even more amazing to me. The fact that you let me go grab cinnamon rolls and fountain Dr. Peppers just because you know I need 15 minutes to myself at the beginning of the day AND you don’t judge me…I mean, were we made for each other or what?You are consistently the funniest person our children have ever met. Buddy looks at you like you are exactly who he wants to be and, as much as it pains me sometimes, I absolutely love that he ALWAYS wants you if you’re in the room. Our sweet sister girl always prepares herself to giggle and smile when she sees you because you absolute light her face up every single day. You are cautious with them, but teach them to be fearless. You are firm, but tender. You worry about them, but even more, you tolerate my worries which are absolutely freaking insane 90% of the time. I know, 90% was generous, more like 97…ish.
This month we celebrate 6 years of marriage just a day after we have our babies’ first birthday party. I do (sometimes) miss the time when we could just do whatever. We visited antique stores whenever we wanted, packed everything for a weekend away in one bag, went out to eat whenever we wanted, and took super long, amazing naps. But I can think of no better anniversary gift than celebrating the babies we weren’t sure we would ever have. Every time I pray with the babies we thank God for you, your calling, your ministry, your job, and your tireless work ethic to provide us with the life we have. We may not have much, but we have each other and that is more than I could’ve ever imagined. You were made to be their Daddy and born to be my husband. We are so grateful for you. And hey, we ALL survived (not necessarily thriving) 366 days! We love you so much.
Gosh. You sweet, wonderful boy. I truly can’t put into words how much you changed my life. I was, and often still am, terrified about being your mama and you have given me more than a few scares this year. You were the first to roll out of the bed (at 5:30 am, no less) and you were the first to fall asleep in the floor…so of course I assumed you were dead. Like I said to your daddy, my worries are intense. When we first got you and your sweet sister, I felt like I was favoring you and it stressed me out. I quickly asked your daddy if he felt it, too, but toward your sister. He said he absolutely felt like there was a different relationship with each of you and that it was okay. That bond with you has only grown and even though you were the bigger baby, sometimes I’ve been more worried about you. You’re not a fan of change…just like your mama. You are SO obsessed with your daddy right now and I hope you grow up to be an amazing man just like him. Even though it was only by a moment, you were the first baby to make me a mama and I could not be more grateful to you. You were our “definite” because you showed your stuff from sonogram to sonogram and it’s no wonder why, your sister was doing back flips all over my belly and you were stuffed down at the bottom with your legs in the air.
This year has brought so many changes for us, sweet boy. You started out my slightly tan, brunette baby with a beautiful head of hair. You lost it all, got super pale, and now you’re blond with the sweetest light blue/gray eyes. You looked just like your daddy when you were born, but your little face was all smushed up. Sorry about that. I was so scared that you would be stuck like that and I couldn’t fix it! You, my boy, have the BEST hearty laugh. You laugh with your mouth open (after months of giggling with your mouth closed) and throw your head back whenever something makes you happy. You were our “lazy” baby who wasn’t very motivated to crawl or stand, but now you pull up and climb on everything and you want to walk SO badly. You are a faster crawler than your sister, but I think that’s because you’re racing to get somewhere and she stops and takes in the scenery. I am so proud of how much you are growing and changing.
I truly hope that our second year together is as amazing as all of us as the first. You have brought joy to my life every.single.day. and I honestly can’t imagine a day when you won’t. That could be me being naive, but I’m choosing to believe that it’s because I truly cherish every single thing about you, little boy. Never stop being mama’s boy. Never stop growing or looking up to your daddy. You are absolutely our pride and joy. We love you so much. I hope you know it every single day of your life. Happy birthday, baby boy. I love you endlessly.
Oh, sweet, sweet girl,
I sometimes tear up when I think about you, my littlest love. The first thing I remember when I think of your birth is your daddy exclaiming that you really were a girl. Hallelujah! You were born my tiniest baby and became even tinier in your early days, but you, my love, have spunk. You were small and yellow and looked like a little inquisitive alien who wasn’t quite sure about this Earth. I can’t say that I blame you. Your skin has always been the smoothest silk I’ve ever felt and sometimes I just nuzzle my nose into your neck because you are the sweetest. My girl, you are so tough. You were the first to crawl and to try to take steps and you out-eat your bigger brother at every single meal. You are hilarious which has caught me off guard. I didn’t know babies would just “be” funny. But you are. You make us laugh every single day, most days before 9 a.m.
Sweet sister, you love your brother so much and it warms your mama’s heart. I truly think he is your favorite person in the world and the joy you two have when you see each other, even if it’s just after a nap, makes my day…even when the nap was too short. I have always been worried about you because you look so fragile, but you are so dang strong. I’m pretty sure you were our first crawler because you are so interested in the world around you and you’re motivated to go after what you want. You observe everything and everyone, sometimes skeptically.
I hate that this sounds superficial, but sweet girl, you are the most beautiful baby in the whole world. People often comment that you “look like a girl”. That sounds so stupid, but you have delicate hands, long, dark eyelashes, big bright eyes, and sweet little features. Your dark blue eyes are KILLER and you can get basically whatever you want from your daddy. You are also FIERCE. Your cries are short lived and your cuddles are sweet, but when you don’t like something? Oh, you let us know. You hold your own against your brother who doesn’t realize he’s bigger than you and you aren’t afraid of anything…not the grumpy cat, the big puppy, flipping, flying, or falling…as you’ve done so off the bed twice because you crawled to the edge with no looking back. You can get in and out of the tiniest spaces and I think you consider that a challenge. I love your observation and your determination. You will definitely be the one to keep us on our toes and I find that so exciting.
Sweet girl, I hope you know that you are the sweetest and most beautiful thing we’ve ever seen. We love you so much and are so proud of you. You are mama’s sweet little baby and I love you endlessly. I hope you feel how grateful we are for you every single day. I’m probably going to kiss your forehead as soon as I pick you up again. Gosh, I just love you so much, baby.
gosh, you did it. you survived a year of motherhood and you don’t even look as awful as you could’ve. remember that first moment? the one when you took that test and the result came up so quickly you were sure it was false? remember when all of your grand ideals of baby reveals to your husband went out the window because you were so shocked that you just took a picture of the test and threw your phone to him? romantic.
i hope we remember it, you and me. i know that you have been keeping track of milestones on a long iPhone note and taking pictures as quickly as you could make space in the phone. remember the other night? you were doing solo bathtime and sissy was in the high chair and buddy was standing up in the tub and squealing and hitting the side of the tub and it was enough to make you crazy but instead you sat on the bathroom floor looking from one baby to another and smiling because once, not even that long ago, you didn’t think this reality existed. and it made it so good.
will it ever sink in? will it ever seem like you’re really a mom? i’m not sure it will. maybe it will make more sense when they regularly call you mama, but maybe not. for months now the running joke has been, “when are they coming to take these babies back? who trusted US to raise two babies?” but, dang, they’re all yours, mama. they belong to you and you belong to them. i’m pretty sure you belong to them even more than they belong to you. and isn’t that precisely it?
it took so long. i mean, it didn’t, really, in hindsight. but in those moments? those failed IUIs and those crazy erratic cycles that helped predict NOTHING and those doctor’s offices that were always awkward and cold and those baby showers…it seemed so long. but you made it. and, more than any other time in your memory, you are so.dang.grateful. they may throw fits and lie on the ground crying and claw at your face and pull your hair and your glasses, but dang. you got ’em, mama. and you all made it a whole year.
remember those worries you wrote about to your sweet husband (who stands by you despite your habit for baked goods and Dr. Peppers)? those worries sometimes try to hold you back. heck, you don’t even want to be typing this draft because it’s not ACTUALLY October 3rd and God forbid, something might happen before you all *actually* make it a year. those worries will make you crazy, mama. listen to your husband and listen to Jesus when they tell you to rest and calm down. but that level of fear? it makes sense. because now that you’ve done this for a year, it’s unimaginable that you ever had a second of life without them. so give them a million kisses when they wake up in the middle of the night and pick them up when you need to be washing dishes and spend this next year savoring every moment. don’t let it get old or take it for granted. you’re a lucky, lucky girl. now, go snuggle your ONE YEAR-OLDS and have a little cry. it’s all so, so good.
love yourself too, mama. and give all of you grace.
here’s to dozens and dozens more years together.