These are letters to Jack, my son, and my daughter, Audrey. You have given me the gift of motherhood. This is just a little gift back. I want to share my experiences with you of your childhood from my perspective of watching you grow - of being your Mom.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Jack's First Birthday



I can't believe it!!! You are ONE!

Yesterday was your first birthday and it was one of the most wonderful days! You know the expression - 'the icing on the cake' - which is used in reference to something being good on top of good? Well - yesterday was the icing on the cake!!

Both your Daddy and I took off of work yesterday so that we could celebrate your first birthday with you all day long. We started off just hanging around the house and playing. Then, you went down for a morning nap and Daddy and I worked on straightening up. When you woke up, we went to the doctor's office to get your one year appointment out of the way. The Doctor's visits went off without a hitch and you got the bonus of getting to see your Grandma and Poppa Dougherty, too.

After the Doctor's visits were over, we all went to the Zoo for the rest of the afternoon. We saw the bears who were out and moving around. You were mesmerized by them. You pointed and waived and stared. I tried to wait for you to lose your fascination before moving to the next animal, but you were so mesmerized, we sometimes had to walk away while you were still staring at the animal before us. You loved the Penguins, too. At first, when we entered the Penguin house, the smell of fish and the blast of cold air scared you and you clung to my chest, but as we snuggled in front of the glass to a tank of water, some penguins came swimming by as fast as bullets, chasing and playing with each other - and you completely forgot that you were frightened. You watched those little penguins racing and diving after one another over and over again. Then some big penguins came swimming by slowly and lazily, turning around like corkscrews - so relaxed. You put your hand to the glass to touch them. Next Daddy took you to the top of the glass where a large penguin surfaced to meet you. He vocalized a couple of times and you waved at him and then he swam off.

We met some puffins, too, who seemed VERY interested in you. They came right up to the glass and pecked at it because you were behind it. You called them "dog-dogs" and yelled a lot. You were very excited about them.

Next we went to see some more bears - Malayan sun bears. Those bears smelled the gum that Daddy and I were chewing (Spearmint) and they uncurled their tongues which were really long. You stared - completely transfixed.

We saw the prairie dogs next. A couple of them were fighting over carrots and chasing each other and the lookout was standing on his hind legs and barking warnings to the other prairie dogs because we were so close. You loved them and struggled to get out of my arms. You wanted to climb right in with them and join in the fun!

The seals and sea lions were SO interesting to you. We must have camped out there for at least 15 minutes on two separate occassions. When the seals barked, they sounded like dogs and your eyes got REALLY WIDE and your little mouth hung open. Your Daddy and I tried to bark like the seals, too, to get your attention on us, but you just smiled and continued to stare at the seals like you were saying 'yeah-yeah - I hear you, but the real show is out there!'

When we went to see the big apes, the apes were pretty interested in you. One of them came and sat right in front of you with only the glass between you. You were so innocent and cute. I would have thought you would be scared because he was so large, but you stood right next to him and waived up at him. He pretended he wasn't watching you, but his head was turned just a little and I could see he was watching you out of the corner of his eye as you waived at him.

Finally, we went on the train. We rode around the entire park. By the time we made our way back to where we started, you were completely exhausted. You took a bottle and were sound asleep before we even made it to the parking lot.

We got you home and gave you a nice afternoon nap and then we all went out to dinner to celebrate your birthday. We went to the Olive Garden and you had some spaghetti cut up really small so that you could shovel it into your mouth. You LOVED it! You ate so much and were covered in stringy pasta by the time you were done. I scooped you up when you were done and carried you to the bathroom. I stood you up over the toilet and let all the spaghetti noodles that were on you fall into the toilet and flushed them down and then you were good as new!

From dinner, we drove to the gas station that your Grandma and Grandpa Rose go to because they had a sign out front that announced JACK ROSE IS 1! We got your picture taken in front of it and many people driving by honked their horns and shouted out "Happy Birthday, Jack!" because it was obvious that you were Jack since you were getting your picture taken in front of the sign.

Next, we went home where Daddy had made you a cake when you had your afternoon nap. We gave you your first piece of birthday cake and sang to you. You dug into it, but really only ate the icing off of the cake which ties back to my anology that yesterday was the 'icing on the cake' for all of us! You LOVED the icing and the freedom of getting to dig right into the cake.

I know that for every birthday of yours from here until you are grown (and even after then if you want to!) - your Daddy and I will ALWAYS take off of work for your birthday so we can properly celebrate YOU and the day that you came into our lives making us "Mommy" and "Daddy". These are titles that we both wear with pride and we THANK YOU for coming to us and giving us the tremendous gift of being your parents!!!

We love you, little Jack! HAPPY BIRTHDAY and MANY, MANY MORE to come!!!! :)



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