365/365 – because of you

Dear Danny,
Welcome to your second New Year! Last year you celebrated New Years Eve by drinking down a bottle and going to bed early – this year you celebrated by dancing and singing to Beyonce. I’m not sure there is a better way than that to sum up what 2010 was about for our little family, but you know I’m going to try!
You have been an absolute thrill ride for your father and I this year. You started off as a smiling, cooing little moose of a baby. In an impossibly short amount of time, your chubby cheeks gave way to show us the form of your beautiful face, and your once round physique turned lean and muscular. There is no denying it – you are all kid. 100% tough cookie. A little boy where my baby used to be.
It is better, I will say that. The idea of you growing up turned out to be far more traumatic than the fact of it. I love watching you run and climb and I adore listening to you laugh at your own quirky sense of humor. You are starting to put words together and giving us a glimpse of the things you find most important in life (Mama, Daddy, cat, dog) and the concepts that make the most sense to you (get down? Sit! Touch Down!). In the last few weeks you have finally remembered how to go to sleep which means that your Dad and I can sleep off the haze and see the world in color again. If you had a million dollars in the bank, you couldn’t have given us a better Christmas present.
2010 was a good year for you, Danny. Because of you, it was a good year for us too.
Still, this was the year that your Dad lost his dear Grandmother, Billie. This was the year I lost my sweet Uncle Bill. Both were relatively unexpected and we found ourselves completely unprepared for the grief. In a way, I was grateful that you were too young to understand what was going on. At the same time, I just don’t know where to begin telling you about these faces in photographs – these beautiful souls who loved you so much – who left us before you were old enough to remember them.
Your Dad lost his job back in March, just a few days after you turned 6 months old. To you, that meant simply that Mommy left for work every day and Daddy stayed home instead. You took it in stride, even if we didn’t. You didn’t know that you were going to start day care the following Monday, or have any idea that just days before he was let go we had looked at each other filled with hope that things were beginning to work out. We didn’t have to explain the situation to you, or come up with reasons for why bad things happen when you haven’t done anything wrong. You stayed blissfully unaware as we juggled money around, trying to stay on top of things or at least only a few steps behind. You stayed your happy, loving self. You kept us smiling with your antics, even as opportunities fell apart.
It is hard to classify 2010 as good/bad/happy/sad because standing here – with 2011 stretching out before us with its possibilities – it is hard to feel anything but blessed. The year was difficult, but we have learned to count our blessings and take everything a week, a day, or an hour at time if necessary. Many of the same challenges from 2010 are waiting for us in the year ahead, but we will not wish away this time – this amazing and absolutely priceless time – with you, just because the road is rockier than we would have liked.
Because of you, we smile anyway.
Because of you, our year was greater than the sum of its parts.
Because of you, we know that 2011 is going to be amazing.
New Years Eve, 2010

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