Oh, my sweet, dear Dylan. Today, you are a year old. 365 days. 12 months. What can I say? You have changed us. It took 29 years to build me into me, and it took ONE year for you to change me completely.
I remember driving up to Oklahoma City the afternoon that you decided was your birthday. I remember touching my tummy and thinking, "this is it... you're coming to the outside. Life is going to be so much different now." You see, I loved you then... but I was a little scared of you. Scared of what you were NOT going to be able to do. Scared of what health problems you were going to have. Scared that other people wouldn't accept you. Oh, little baby boy. I don't say that with a happy heart-- I look at you now, and I think, "WHY was I scared of this perfect angel?" But I was. I didn't know what to expect.
Until 6:37PM, when you came out screaming. I didn't get to see you immediately, but Daddy did. He said "He's SO tiny! But he looks... I don't know, like a regular baby!" I know he couldn't find his wording, but I knew what he meant. He meant the same thing I was thinking... you looked like someone familiar to us. You looked like your big brother... you looked a little like Daddy... but you mostly looked like me. You had a perfect, c-section, never-been-in-the-birth-canal head. You had one small sprig of blond hair sticking up. Oh, you were so gorgeous. It was love at first sight... my tiny little 5-lb baby. I don't think I stopped smiling that night at all. And even though you were a couple of floors above me in the NICU, I felt good that you were so healthy looking and so BIG compared to the other babies (although 5 lbs is not big!)
Suddenly, who cared about Down syndrome anymore? Not us! You weren't Down syndrome, like we had been preparing ourselves for you to be. You were DYLAN. You were the whole, and Down syndrome just became a tiny sliver of you. I felt so silly for worrying for all of those months. We loved you immediately. We wanted you from the moment we found out you were coming. We got sidetracked down the scared path when we found out you were to have a chromosomal abnormality. We got back on track the moment you came in to this world. We haven't looked back since... well, maybe a peek or two, when we see other kids your age doing things you're not doing YET. But you will, my darling kid. You will. You're not that kid-- you're not Down syndrome-- you're Dylan.
And, Dylan, you are a special little boy!! People are blown away by how chill you are. Perfect strangers are drawn to your calm demeanor. Family members can't wait for their turn to hold you and experience you, because you just radiate beauty and wonder. You have the power to bury yourself deep into people's hearts-- you've done this all throughout this year! You are a joy. A joy, plain and simple.
Little man, you know what you want, and everybody knows that it's Dylan's Way or The Highway. :) If a new skill isn't your idea, you flat out won't do it, and in fact will get a bit upset if someone tries to MAKE you do it. But if it IS your idea? Look out, world!
This month, you've learned to clap by yourself! You wave hi and bye. You have a happy noise... I don't know how to type it out, but it's your "I'm happy and content" sound. You've added "Nana" and "papa" to your babble-list, but still no Mama! You eat so well, moving quickly through to stage 2 and 3 babyfoods. You are all over the place! You proved that you CAN sit up on your own IF you feel like it, which isn't very often at all. Your brother is your biggest fan and playmate. You can point out my nose (but not your own). You're going through a "hold me and never put me down" phase. You give kisses on cheeks... with tongue. haha. You're my handsome little wiggleworm, and I am just SO blessed. There's just no better word for it. Blessed.
You, at an hour or so old, December 29, 2009.
You, chillin' in your crib when you should have been napping, December 2010.
Happy birthday, my darling. Thank you for changing our world. May all of your years be as blessed as you've made this one for us.