*I love hearing you say, "Buh-bye, ba-loons!" when I insist that you leave them behind at the grocery store. Resigned, you wave at them over my shoulder as I carry you out to the car.
*I love when you sing along with me at bedtime. This is your newest skill, and it makes me smile every time I hear you sing "Boom and go! Boom and go!" (your version of "bloom and grow") when we get to that line in "Edelweiss." You don't know every single word of the song yet, but you pretend to as you wail out gibberish to fill in the spots that you aren't sure about.
*I love when you actually comply when I ask, "Can I have a nuzzle?" You smash your face up close to mine and joyously move your head back and forth so our noses are rubbing. It ends up being more of a violent show of affection than a tender one, but it is my favorite.
*I love the ridiculous petnames that somehow pop out of my mouth when I am talking to you. "Pumpkin" has become "Pumpkin Pie." "Peanut" has become "Peanut Buster Parfait." "Bug" has become "Bug-a-boo." But the most common name I call you is simply "Baby." You're not such a little guy anymore, but you will be my Baby forever.
*I love when you are excited about something and you shout, "Yay!" "Buttons, yay!" "Toys, yay!" "Callum, yay!" "Cancakes, yay!"
*I love that you have learned the word "cute" (probably from hearing it so much from me!). Earlier this week, you walked up to me and proudly said, "I cute!" Yes, you are!
*I love when you call me or your dad by our first names. It makes me laugh every time, and when you sometimes shout "Ryan? Ryan?" as you look around the apartment for Daddy after he's left for work, I think I might die from the cuteness.
*I love when you count to ten, randomly skipping numbers here and there, and always ending with an exuberant "Firteen!"
*I love that you are learning to pray. You fold your little hands in front of you and tuck your head down, as if to bow it--but you keep your eyes wide open. I swear, you don't even blink.
*I love when you get jealous when Dad comes home from work and hugs and kisses me first. When you see us with our arms wrapped around each other, you shriek in envy and run over to hug Daddy's legs until he picks you up so you can join in.
*I love those precious moments when I look at you and my heart swells and I just feel inexpressibly grateful. It happened the other night as Daddy carried you out of our friends' house where you had fallen asleep while they babysat you. You were all wrapped up in a blanket, and you looked over Dad's shoulder, groggy eyed and confused, your wild hair going in a million different directions. When you spotted me walking a few steps behind admiring you, you grinned sleepily and held my gaze. Can a heart explode from happiness?
I love you, my little pumpkin pie, peanut buster parfait, bug-a-boo, sweet Noah boy. I have said it before, and I will say it again: I never knew love like this until I became your mother. I am sorry for the days that I am impatient or distracted. I am not perfect, but I am your mama--
And I could not possibly love you any more than I do.
I wrote today's article on The Power of Moms about writing love letters (or love lists, like this one) to your children as a Valentine's tradition, so I thought I better do it myself! It is really rewarding to sit down and strip away all of the craziness of being a mom to focus solely on the moments you love with your kids. I hope you will try it!
I also want to say that I am sorry if reading about these beautiful moments is painful for those women who are struggling with infertility or waiting to be chosen by a birthmom. I remember the loneliness of that place, and I don't want to be insensitive to those of you who are hurting. I know your miracle will happen--hopefully very soon!--and I know that your joy will be "as exceeding as was [your] pain." In the meantime, hang in there, and please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you always.
And to Katie and Drew--I love you. Whenever I write these love letters, I think of you and how this joy would not have been possible without you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Love to all of my friends and family! Happy Valentines Day!