these are just many of the many pictures from his cake smash photo shoot with his little girl friend elliette jane. she was born just 3 days before him! thanks maddie for the awesome pictures!
anyway. yes. 1 year ago today i was in labor with my sweet benny blue. we didn't really know yet if that was going to be his name. but we knew we wanted to use blue somehow since that's what he had been called from the first weeks of my pregnancy. we got to the hospital around 9 pm and they would not admit me until i had dilated higher than a 2 even though my contractions were 1-2 minutes apart at that point. i don't ever remember being in so much pain. walking those hospital halls in a gown while holding on to sean trying to not scream through every contraction. it was without a doubt the most painful night of my life. i remember when they finally decided to admit me at midnight and how relieved i was. i was still in so much pain but so happy that i could finally get an epidural. my water broke on its own right after i got the epidural and we didn't expect to have a baby 4 hours later but we did.
at 4:26 am benjamin blue ashby made his entrance into the world and into our lives. and what a year it has been for us. i don't really even know how to explain how much he rocked our world. i feel like it will be best to just write him a letter so i will do that below.
dear benjamin blue,
i can't believe that tonight was the last night i gave a bath and put my sweet little 11 month old baby to bed. tomorrow when you wake up you will be one year old. you will basically be a toddler. not my little baby anymore. i can't even seem to find the words to explain how this makes me feel. there are so many emotions going through my heart right now.
benny, you are the best thing that has ever happened to your dad and i. you have done more for us than you will ever understand. at 1 years old you are walking and talking. you took your first steps on the day that you turned 11 months old. i wish you could have seen the look on your dads face when you took them. we were both so not prepared but both so excited that we both got to experience that "first" with you. we were so proud of you.
you still only have 2 teeth right now. your bottom front two. you are about 21 lbs. you have dark dark brown eyes. they look like chocolate almost and your hair matches them perfectly. your eyes twinkle when you smile. you are so busy. always on the go and you never sit still. you like to keep us on our toes but we wouldn't trade it for anything. you are a curious little boy and love to get into everything. i can see your little brain trying to figure out how everything works. you just have to know so you like to take things apart and put them back together. i can already tell that you are going to be very smart. you love to learn.
your favorite things to eat right now are hashbrowns and cinnamon graham crackers. you don't like vegetables that much so i have to sneak that in with your fruit. you are still drinking soy formula and doing so well on it. i have tried to give you some foods with dairy in it and you haven't had too bad of a reaction so i am hoping you are outgrowing that allergy.
you finally started to sleep good at night around 10 months old. you still have some bad nights but you are sleeping much better than you were, so we are too. and we love that and thank you for it.
you are quite the momma's boy. like.... a lot. it can be exhausting for me at times but i love it. you love your dad so much and moses is your absolute favorite thing in the world. you light up every time you see him. i am so glad that he is hear to watch you grow up and to play with you. he is so good to you and it makes me so happy.
benny, i didn't just write this letter to talk about your milestones. i want you to know how much you changed our lives. please don't take this the wrong way... but this last year with you? it has been the hardest year of our lives. there were nights when i honestly thought that i could not last another day. tears were shed from every member of this family on multiple occasions. there was a lot of guilt on my part when i made the decision to stop nursing you. you hated it and we both cried through it every time. there were even more tears shed when i decided to stop pumping. i can't even tell you how much guilt i felt and how i still feel guilty that i stopped. but then i see your happy smiling face now, and i know i made the right choice. you were happier when i was happier. i was happier when you felt better.
the first 6 months of your life were very hard. we didn't know what was wrong with you and we spent a lot of time trying to figure it out. we finally found out at 6 months that you were allergic to cows milk protein and once we figured that out you were an entirely different baby. i am so sorry it took us so long to find out. i promise i tried everything and did so much research. i took you to so many doctors and so many tests were ran. please know that i tried everything. i just wanted to see you happy. i knew there was a happy baby in there somewhere. and boy was i right.
you have the power to light up a room, ben. your personality is so much fun. your laugh is infectious and it honestly makes me so happy. it makes me forget any pain or sadness i am feeling. i love to hear it more than anything. you are a very special little boy. you are going to change the world. i just know it. you are so strong and i know that you are going to be a leader. just like your daddy. i hope you end up just like him. he is a smart, kind, loyal man. he is such a hardworker. and i can already tell that you are going to be a lot like him.
you have taught us a lot this past year benny. you have taught me a lot about myself. you forced me to see parts of myself that i did not like. parts that i needed to change. you taught me how to grow up. you taught me how to depend on people more, but to also trust myself and depend on myself more. you taught me that i was stronger than i realized. but also weaker than i realized. you taught me to see the world in a different way. a way that i needed to start seeing it.
so yes, this last year was hard. so hard. people warned us how hard it would be. and we believed them... and we knew it. but we didn't realize that it was going to be way harder than we expected. people also told us that it would be amazing. but we didn't realize that it was going to be way more amazing than we expected. it was way better than we ever could have imagined. you are the best thing that ever happened to us. and i can't believe it has only been a year. we look forward to so many more amazing years with you. we are so happy you are in our family.
just as i was typing this up, you started to cry in your sleep. you didn't finish your bottle before bed, so i had a feeling you would wake up hungry shortly after going to bed. i am actually glad that you did, because i got to go up there and hold you one last time before you turn one year. i got to feed you one last time and kiss you one last time before you are not my little baby anymore. don't get me wrong, you will always be my baby obviously. but it's just a bittersweet feeling that i am feeling. as i sat there in the chair, feeding you, kissing your head.. i started to cry. i realized that the reason this is a sad time for me is because the older you get, the more you will see how scary this world is. the world is such a scary place right now. and i know it is only going to get harder to live in the older that you get. i wish i could protect you from all the evil and scary stuff in this world. i know that i can't. but i wish that i could.
i know the world is a scary place. and i hope that you will always be smart and make wise choices. but i also hope you know that there are good people out there. people that want to make the world better. i hope that you try to seek out those people. i know that you will be one of them. you can be a stubborn, feisty little boy.. but i hope you use that for good. i have always felt like those people are the strongest. they change the world. i am already so proud of the man that i know you are going to become. please know that your mom can be a little dramatic and emotional. i give you permission to laugh at me when you read this and actually understand it.
i guess i better wrap this up here. benny, i hope you never ever forget how loved you are. your parents are no where near perfect. not even close. but we love you. we love you so much that it physically hurts. i hope you never forget that. thank you for the hardest, but by far the best year of our lives. i hope we can spend the rest of your life making you as happy as you have made us.
i think one of the reasons that I'm so emotional is that today marks 1 year that we made it through one of the hardest years we have ever had. we did it even though it was hard. one of our family mottos since your dad and I's engagement is that we can do hard things. I hope you never forget that you can do hard things. they will make you stronger in the end. they will give your life purpose. they will make your life worth it.
happy birthday my sweet little benny bear.