Tuesday was August 5th. Some of you may remember that last year August 5th became pretty special to us when this happened:
Fast forward an entire year and...here we are!
God is so good. Happy birthday, Gabriel Alexander! We just love you so.
There are so many things I'd love to say but I'm not even sure where to begin. The past few days have been a blur as we hosted my mother-in-law (Gabriel's "Halmoni," which means Grandmother in Korean). Michael's parents own a restaurant back in Ohio and it's very difficult for them to take any significant time off of work. In fact, until this week neither of his parents had ever visited us (we have visited them many times) since we got married. The fact that his mom could take some time off and be here on Gabriel's birthday was such a rare treat and we had lots of fun showing her around. I've got lots of great photos and stories to share from our time together, but I think I'll save those for another post.
Right now I want to focus on the birthday boy himself:
I firmly believe that all children are blessings, but the amazing part about human beings is that we are each truly unique - dreamt of, thought of, and created by our Lord and brought into this world for our own individual purpose(s). I have no idea what lies ahead of us, but this past year has been filled to the brim with such joy as we've witnessed Gabriel grow into this observant, calm, calculated, jovial, social, and adventurous little man. It's amazing to see how telling certain characteristics can be from quite a young age!
We've known all along that Gabriel is by and large what society considers an "easy" baby - meaning that he rarely cries (except when he really needs/wants something or is in pain) and is generally very happy. Sure, he never accepted a bottle among other things that challenged us as parents, but how on earth can I complain about such things when I look at the big picture? God has blessed us with such a gift - and that gift is our firstborn son and the honor it is to be his parents.
Gabriel, you fill our lives with so much light! Whether we're reading you stories, playing ball or peekaboo, watching you experience new things, or cradling you in our arms when you're tired or hurting, we are grateful to have those experiences. Because God blessed us with you, our home has been filled with the kind of love and laughter that only you can bring - by simply being you. Sometimes there have been tears and seemingly endless nights (especially with teething - what a blessing you won't remember that pain!), but through it all we've learned more about what it is to love...because we have loved you every minute of every hour of every day and always will.
God's love for all of us is so much greater than this and sometimes it is hard to comprehend, but your presence in your daddy's life and mine has helped us to understand His great love more than we ever could without you. How beautiful it is to love someone so very much that any sign of their distress makes you want to drop everything and do whatever you can to make things better - and if there's nothing you can do or you hear their piercing cries it simply causes your heart to ache. This is just a glimpse into the kind of love we have for you as your parents.
We hope and pray that you will continue to grow in love and faith each day as you get older. I pray about many things for you - but perhaps the most important prayer is for you to always remain close to God. By having faith and placing your trust in Him you will be blessed. I do not know everything the Lord has in store for you, but I promise that I will do my best to help you become the man He created you to be.
As your mother, my goal is to help you get to heaven someday - but the funny thing I've noticed in the past year is that it already seems to work the other way, too. Of course I will do my part to love, protect, teach, and guide you, but already I can see how much you have helped me become more of who God intends me to be. This is one of the many mysteries about family life - but it's important to remember that we all can and should help one another on this journey. After all, that's a large part of why God designed us to be together as one family. The love we'll share with one another here on earth is merely a glimpse of the love we can experience if/when we make it to heaven someday - so let's make sure we all get there one day and bask in God's ultimate love together as a family!
When I think about this past year of your life, I cannot help but smile. We have had so much fun watching you grow, observe, play, and learn about this great big world and I cannot wait to continue sharing this journey with you.
Now, if you'll excuse me, you just awoke from your nap so I'm going to go soak in your post-nap grins and giggles and smother you with kisses and hugs before you grow up more and develop less patience with my desire to always be cuddling you. Happy 1st birthday, sweetheart! We love you love you love you.
For more details about Gabriel's first year, check out these posts:
UPDATE - Shortly after Gabriel's first birthday we went to the doctor for his 12-month check-up. Here are his growth measurements:
- Weight: 17.0 lbs. (2nd-5th percentile)
- Height: 29.5 in. (25th-50th percentile)
- Head circumference: 18 in. (25th-50th percentile)
"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you."