To My Angel Hill, on the Precipice of His First Birthday:
You have always been mine–mine in particular.
When you came into this world, the nurses placed your tiny body up against my face, above the sheet that separated us from the doctors performing the c-section that brought you safely to me. We laid there, cheek-to-cheek, and I wept as you quietly opened and closed your mouth against my face in what felt like a hundred tiny kisses. All I could think was: You are here, you are mine, you are here, you are mine! — and just on the heels of that: do not move, Jen! Though my arm was crooked at the most awkward of angles, I was desperate to avoid shifting you. I needed you and your kisses, a reassuring intimacy flying in the face of the indignity of laying on an operating table. And you were a quiet little thing, content once nestled beside me. One of the nurses peered over at us and said: “Oh! Oh my gosh! He’s so quiet, I’d almost forgotten he was there!”
You were mine then — mine in particular.
You were calm once in my arms, affectionate, entirely oblivious to the way in which your very being reified my confidence and calm despite the unpleasantries of the procedure. Your just being you brought out the best in me, your fumbling bisous cheering me through that surgery and right into the recovery room, where your father and I cried and held hands in relief and victory and joy and the ineffable emotional glut of becoming a parent–even a second time over.
We have not spent more than a few hours apart from one another since you came to me at 8:49 a.m. on May 31, 2019, and you have proven in that time that I am yours in particular, just as much as the other way around. When you were very young, and we were lost in the haze of sleepless nights feeding you, we tumbled through a stretch where you were only happy when I held you. Your father would often find you tucked under my arm, my face drooping over yours in exhaustion, and he would laugh out loud at the smug look of joy on your face, even while fast asleep. “I got what I wanted,” your smirk seemed to be saying, claiming me as your own.
When you were a little bit older, you would often fall asleep with your eyes locked on me, slow-blinking yourself to sleep while ensuring I was not going to sneak out the door, holding on to my visage until the very last second possible before drifting off into sleep.
Nowadays, when I pluck you out of your crib after a nap, you settle into my arms and rest your head on my shoulder, and we sway in the still-dark quiet of the nursery for a few minutes before easing open the blinds and hushing the sound machine, deferring the real world and its routines and cacophonies in favor of a quiet embrace, just the two of us. I have wiped away many happy tears in this posture over the past few weeks, your cheek against mine, your chubby fingers clutching my shirt, the world outside your door immaterial.
In short, I am desperately devoted to you, my determined, affectionate, outgoing, curious, forbearing little boy–words I repeat to you during our nightly affirmations, words you are now beginning to recognize on the eve of your first birthday.
I am so overjoyed you are mine, my one-year-old baby–mine in particular.
+My thoughts just ten days after your birth — I was just as overwhelmed then as I am now by the kisses after your delivery.
+I announced my pregnancy with you rather elliptically in this long-form post, and oh! I had not remembered that I had told myself “you are mine” even while pregnant.
+For fellow mamas reading this:
+Looking back, my absolute favorite articles of clothing Hill has worn (for sure holding onto all of these):
LITTLE ENGLISH PLAYSUITS (HE HAD ONE IN EVERY SIZE)
BABIDU SHORT-AND-TOP SETS (HE HAD A FEW)
MADRE DALLAS PERSONALIZED KNIT HAT (THE SWEETEST GIFT — HEARTBROKEN HE WON’T FIT INTO THIS NEXT WINTER)
NANOS DOG BLOOMERS (WORE THESE ON THANKSGIVING)
PERSONALIZED CASHMERE SWEATER THAT READS: HILLBABY
+And if I could trim my favorite baby gear for micro down to just a handful of things I would URGE you to consider if you are having a child:
WUBBANUB (KEEPS PACIFIER IN BABY’S MOUTH PLUS EASIER TO FIND THAN NORMAL PACIFIERS)
PULP FEEDERS (SO GREAT FOR EXPOSING BABY TO FRUIT BEFORE THEY CAN CHEW)
MUNCHKIN TRASHBAGS (NEVER LEAVE HOME WITHOUT THEM)
KISSY KISSY ONESIES — SO, SO SOFT AND WORTH THE INVESTMENT (HILL WORE ALL OF MINI’S)
BABY BJORN MINI (WAS SO SO SAD WHEN I HAD TO RETIRE THIS — THE EASIEST TO PUT ON AND TAKE OFF AND SO COMFORTABLE)