I was pushing. After 9 long months of pregnancy, 6 long months of deployment, and 16 long hours of labor, I was finally bringing our baby into the world. Michael was standing next to me.

I didn't feel a thing. Thank you, epidural. I watched Levi emerge. I watched the faces around me. I was scared, mostly. I think it all happened in slow motion. Or maybe someone hit fast forward.

It's 12:20am. We were parents. We had a baby. He was so small. Oh my gosh was he small. "Look at his hair!" "Oh, he has dimples!" "Looks like his daddy!" We smiled so big our cheeks hurt.

Our families oohed and ahhed, the nurses wheeled him away, we slept. I woke up like a kid on Christmas day. A soft little bundle all my own was in the next room. He was perfectly made by God, given to us. It was barely light out and I held him in the stillness of the morning, nothing but the sound of Michael's breath rising and falling several feet away. Nothing but us.

He made those beautiful newborn noises. The sucking and cooing and squeaking. I couldn't stop stroking the silk of his hair or marveling at how tiny his features were. In the dark of that hospital room I was falling in love with a child.

A year ago to the hour.

I've had so many more hours to fall for him. My heart grows every day. 

Happy Birthday Stinky. You'll always be special because you made me a mama.

Mommy Left the Door Open

"Make a break for it!!!!"
"Whoa... I bet I can get into way more trouble out here!"

My Almost One Year Old

I'm crazy about him.