364 days and exactly 23 hours ago as i type this you came bursting (literally, "pop, pop, pop, squish, splash, birth") into our arms and lives. the umbilical cord you and i grew was a little short, so i didn't immediately get a face to face gooey snuggle, but more of a reach down, meet-you-halfway embrace..
you have been by far the most exciting, overwhelming, challenging, adorable, treasured, prayed for, doted on, amazing little piece of your daddy's and my entire lives. hands down. everyone said "you are going to be so amazed by how much you are able to love him," and i really tried to brace for that. oh, but i never had a chance. even when i was a milky-hormonal stress-bomb, i was wrapped around your tiny tanned little finger and all you had to do was breathe in and out to make me so very happy and wash all the worries away. as long as i was your mommy, everything was okay. even that cat vomit on the carpet.
i tried to think of some of my favorite times with you in our first year together, but there's really only one: right now. whenever i am with you, whoever you are today, that is my favorite. i remember on our 2nd or 3rd night home from the hospital i was holding you watching the NBA playoffs on the couch with daddy and i started bawling at the thought of you growing one ounce/millimeter bigger. the boy in my arms was the one i wanted forever and i was so terrified of that changing. but momsie got a really cool surprise from god when she realized that the judah that i wake up to every day is the one i love the most, even if i sort of miss your little newborn smell or your early poos that smelled like honey nut cheerios. so while most of me hopes you will stay this precious little barely one year old forever, i know that next week all i will want forever is my little 53 week old..
all i have to say is thank you. thank you so much for exactly who you are. you are sweet and cuddly, fierce and determined, gassy and drooly, laid back and good natured. you have a hilariously unique sense of humor and are most interested in god's best creations: people and nature. our most fervent prayer for you is that you will live to love and serve others. that you will guard your heart and bind it utterly to your savior one day. that you will live your whole life the way you have taught us to in this past year--to live passionately every moment you have and to love those you spend those moments with.
you are our tiniest of heroes and we literally could not love you more if we both had enlarged grinch-hearts. at least until tomorrow when you make us fall even more in love with you all over again. thank you (and jesus) for making us parents to the most picture-perfect little boy that could ever be made especially for keight and jesse dukes. a boy so amazing that we weren't even ambitious enough to dream up this kind of love ahead of time. thanks for being ours; it's our most favoritest part about you.
so much love,