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Dear James,

March 23, 2009

mexico-033-25-percentOne year ago today, it was Easter Sunday and I was in labor with you. ALL DAY. Your grandparents and aunts and uncles were at home enjoying a nice Easter dinner. Your dad was by my side not enjoying some kind of linguine dish from the cafeteria and doing his very best to stay conscious and supportive.

I don’t have too many acute memories of this day but I do know that you were in no rush and that you parked on my left hip for longer than was comfortable.

I had been in negotiations with God for days about your birthday. Easter Sunday seemed like the perfect time for you to arrive. He kept me hanging though. You weren’t actually due for another three weeks and He was all like, “Claire, the kid is still gooey in the centre. Give me another week or two.”

But God performs well under pressure and at 11:42 p.m., with 18 minutes to spare, I joyfully (by the Grace of God and the support of my epidural) watched you enter this world. Dad watched too and it was also by God’s grace that he did not lose his cafeteria linguine dish all over the floor.

Now you are one year old. Every morning you wake up, kiss your Dad, look for something new and say, “ooooo, whit’s tat?!” I hope this is how you will always wake up James: with love and a whole lot of wonder.

Happy Birthday Baby! I am honored to be your mama.

  • *If you like, leave James a birthday greeting and/or your favorite memory from his first year in the comments. I will save them so he can read them when he’s literate. Hopefully before he graduates.
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10 Comments leave one →
  1. Jean permalink
    March 23, 2009 4:54 pm

    Dear James,

    I first saw you very shortly after your Mom and Dad brought you home from the hospital and I flew up to Whitehorse to cook, clean and offer sage advice. As far as I could tell you were completely done in the center but your Mom and Dad looked a little unbaked. You were beautiful. They looked like avalanche survivors, only less composed. I will never forget the whimsical and creative sign your Mom put above your change table before you were born. It said, “WASTE MANAGEMENT.” I’m not sure but I suspect that within a month of you coming home she changed it to say, “MANAGEMENT IS WASTED.”

    Your Dada and I have been able to visit with you a few times since your birth, in spite of living so far away from Whitehorse, because of your Mom and Dad’s determination to bring you to see both sets of grandparents, an effort for which we are all truly thankful. As soon as you learned to coordinate your facial muscles you were always completely ready and willing to break out into lovely welcoming smiles. You are the only child I know who could poop on command before he could smile on command. Grandparents are proud of the strangest things.

    The last time we saw you before this, your first birthday, was just a few weeks ago. You were talking in 5 languages and were attempting to teach me the rudiments of trigonometry.

    Not really. Had you worried there, didn’t I? You were about to get extremely concerned about all you had forgotten in a few short years. No, we were just amazed because you could say, “Uh-oh.” but only if we said it to you 17 times first. But nobody had to prime you to smile and find amusement in wonderful things like seagulls and trees and the presence of other small children. You have the joy of life and shared it with us. The hotel room cleaners are probably still wondering why guests would pull out the contents of a whole box of kleenex and then put it all on a closet shelf. Your Mom is just beginning to learn really well that when you are quiet it doesn’t mean you are thinking, “Mom’s reading a magazine right now. I’ll just be really good and sit quietly in the middle of the floor for 15 minutes until she’s finished.”

    Happy Birthday, Smiler! I know you’re spending part of it at a doctor’s office making sure a Mexican parasite hasn’t hitched a ride back to Whitehorse. What a surprise for it, huh? I hope the rest of your day somehow ensconces itself in your 1 year old consciousness – perhaps the taste and feel of candle wax lodged in your teeth will forever stir primal memories in you. You could do worse.

    Your Dada and I love you and we pray every day for you to grow and develop in wisdom and understanding – and smiles!

    Love,
    Granny

  2. Jean permalink
    March 23, 2009 7:00 pm

    I am replying to myself. I got so caught up in the amazement of it being a year since James was born that I misspelled his Allen Grandfather’s moniker. It is Dado, not Dada. “Dada” is all that would come out whenever we would try to get James to say “Dado”. But, gosh, he tried hard.

    I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

    Granny (to which the closest James could come was “Bah!” Dado wins.)

  3. Charlie Allen permalink
    March 24, 2009 2:24 am

    Dear James Augustine,
    This is Dado. I played a game with you when you were here before Christmas. I would keep calling ‘hoi’ when I was out of you sight. You would keep turning you head to find out where I was calling you from and then when I would appear you would give me a big smile. It was great fun!
    I also played ‘pat a cake’ with you. You had not forgotten this when I saw you in March just before you were one year old. You would keeping looking at me and smiling while I saying ‘pat a cake’. A lot of times I couldn’t finish because you made me laugh so much.
    I hope you had a great first birthday. You have another great birthday coming up in May ; that was when you became a child of God.
    God bless you and keep you well. You have a great Mum and Dad.
    Dado

  4. Brian permalink
    March 24, 2009 3:25 am

    Dear James,

    I feel awkward writing this. Just as I feel awkward talking to Jude. I haven’t mastered baby talk and I fear I never will. Baby talk is repetitive, guttural and enthusiastic. The guttural part I have down. The repetitive part quickly bores me which kills the enthusiasm. I end up sounding like a disoriented zombie that really just wants to sleep. You, however, are much better at baby talk. Especially the enthusiastic part. You have a stream of babble that flows like a raging underground river of joy from a source that could only come from a place close to God’s heart. It roars: HI! I’M A FRIEND!

    Never lose this. It will only serve you and the world well. Nurture it as you grow and you will bring warring nations together.

    Your Uncle,

    Brian.

  5. SunYoung permalink
    March 24, 2009 4:37 am

    Happy birthday James!!

    I can’t believe you just turned 1 year old. Time goes soo fast…

    I remember last Christmas when you visited Calgary with your mom and auntie Jane. Your outfit was well prepared for crazy Calgary winter. You wore a couple of warm pants, shirts and a woolen hat. S0 you looked a little bigger than your actual size. That was super cute and adorable.
    You already grew up a lot by the time and I enjoyed hanging out with you.

    I love seeing your smiles. Especially when your mom said to you ‘Eat your food. It’s good for you’ in a very active joyful tone of voice, you had a big happy smile. I love it!

    I love your positive attitude.
    When you visited Calgary last Christmas, it was a second reunion with your cousin Jude. To get along with and get closed to Jude you tried talking to Jude. However, Jude cried hard…. Sorry about that. He was also happy to see you but he just needed some social skills… He was usually at home with me so at the time he wasn’t familiar with any people around him so he might be a little shy.
    I hope you didn’t feel bad.
    Since then I have been training Jude to have a positive attitude like you ,so please let him have a touching reunion with you again…

    I love you and don’t forget you are a very important person and all your families love you A LOT!

    Happy birthday again!

    Auntie SunYoung with a big hug and kiss.

  6. Janice Grocholski permalink
    March 24, 2009 2:03 pm

    Happy Birthday Sweet Guy!
    Although i have yet to even meet you i feel i know you really well through all the
    stories, and pictures from your mom and dad, grandparents and friends. You are so lucky to have such a great family who love you to bits! You seem so much like your dad…….I remember him to be so smiley and he loved being around people too! He smiled too and the room lit up!
    I’m not sure yet how much you take after your Grampa Jim….I guess I would have to check with your mom how much you like eggs (this is a story in itself but I will leave that to Grampa Jim to tell). You are so beautiful it makes me smile to look at pictures of you….I can’t wait until August when I’ll get to squish those chubby cheeks of yours! Have a great day sweetcheeks!
    Love Great (ugh) Aunty Jan (Grampa Jims sister)

  7. Eileen and Jim Caudle permalink
    March 25, 2009 4:08 am

    Happy 1st Birthday James! Seems just like yesterday we found out another generation of James had arrived on the scene. Your mom and dad were so happy and proud (and exhausted!) It’s so special to be born on Easter Sunday.

    Grandpa Jim and I were sure happy you were able to bring your parents with you to Mexico recently. You didn’t feel very well at the end of the trip, but you had great fun splashing in the pool, watching the pretty birds and funny monkeys, and making new friends at every turn – you are so friendly and have such a charming smile. We are grateful we got to spend some more time with you to get to know you a little better. And such a great little traveller!

    Your vocabulary is sure growing rapidly – I’m sure you’ll have a whole bunch of new words when we see you in a few months.

    We will miss you but are so happy you come to visit us with your mom and dad whenever possible. Keep that beautiful smile always – it melts hearts!

    You are a very lucky boy to have such a loving and patient mom and dad – but you’ll come to know that as you get older.

    Big hug and kiss to you sweetie – love you lots.

    Love Grandpa and Grandma

  8. Colleen permalink
    March 25, 2009 4:41 am

    Dear James,

    Happy Birthday, James! As the mother of your life-long pal Oscar, I feel pretty lucky to have been able to get to know you pretty well over the past year. It is hard for me to think of my favourite memory of you in your first year, because there have been so many great moments.

    I have been and continue to be in awe of your impeccable infant hygiene and your other-worldly linguistic prowess. You are the youngest baby I’ve ever heard blow raspberries, or say “mama”, and I’ll never forget the day I strapped you into your car-seat and you “clucked” your tongue at me. Your raven imitation blows me away.

    Most of all (even though this might sound a bit strange), I like that you taught my son to kiss. You planted a nice, big, kiss on Oscar’s nose one day, and after that he always wanted to kiss babies (and sometimes even mom and dad). Some day you might not be so impressed by this feat, but your mom and I thought it was pretty cute.

    I haven’t seen you for a few weeks, but I can’t wait to see what you’ve learned in Mexico I’m sure you’re reciting Shakespeare from memory by now – probably en Espanol.

    Happy Birthday, again, and thanks for introducing me to your mom and dad and being such a great buddy to Oscar. You’ve helped to make my year pretty special.

    Hugs,
    Colleen

  9. Jaelyn permalink
    March 27, 2009 12:25 pm

    Happy birthday James,

    Keep that beautiful smile. Michael and I wish you a long and happy life.

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