Today you are 8 months old.
Today you have short, chubby legs, pudgy fingers and toes, and a bright, beaming smile.
Today your hair is still orange--the color of the sun setting low and fiery beneath the horizon.
Today you reach for me when I go to pick you up and whimper and cling to me when I try to set you down. Today you nurse quietly in the bedroom while your hand caresses my cheek and your eyes study my features.
Today you finally take long naps in your crib, but you no longer want to cuddle. This is the reason you spent the first 7 months of your life not napping at all, or only napping in 20 minute increments. I cuddled you to sleep for as long as my worn down body could possibly manage it, and I mourned a little bit when it came time to teach you to fall asleep without me. I knew it would happen like this. I hate that it has to happen like this.
Today you roll and sit and scoot and wiggle, but you cannot crawl.
Today you eat everything we eat, and cry furiously if we try to sit down for dinner without including you.
Today your siblings absolutely adore you and smother you with affection and adoration as they lay on top of you and sweetly call you, "Bowie".
Today you turn 8 months old and my heart is aching and tearing apart within the walls of my chest. Just yesterday, they lifted you out of me and called out "he has red hair!" Just yesterday, I laid on that operating table and wept soft, quiet tears as I knew my life was about to change forever. Just yesterday, I brought you home to our house on Kelso Dune, and carried you up to my bedroom to lay together under the warm January sunshine and watch your eyelids flutter softly as your chest rose peacefully up and then down.
I have loved you so intensely these last 8 months, at times it has felt like more than any love I have ever known before. Each time I nurse you, I am reminded that one day I will wake up and lift your soft body to my chest and then I will lay you down and never pick you up that way again.
One day you will walk, and talk, and run, and climb, scaling your way up the barstool to take your place there, the 4th little seat waiting to be filled.
What a privilege it is to love someone in this way; to hold you with the knowledge that each moment we share is sacred, and divinely ours. What a privilege it is to experience every first time the last time, with you who has made the last 8 months as joyful as any I've ever known.
Oh, Owen. You have taught me heartbreak. You have shown me what it is to love someone so fiercely in this one sacred moment that you can't imagine waking up the next morning and finding that moment gone, never to return. How are you already 8 months old?
Some nights, before we fall asleep, your dad and I open the shade in our big bedroom window so we can stare out at the world outside. The lights from the city below dance and twirl and the stars pulse brightly as they burn holes in the sky. Some nights we lay there quietly watching those twinkling lights and feeling so small, and yet so big, with the whole world stretching out below us, and the knowledge that you can be anything you choose.
Some nights the sight of it all makes my heart ache a little bit for yesterday, and mourn a little bit for tomorrow. Sometimes I have to leave my bed and come sneak into yours, picking you up quietly, and gently placing your head on my shoulder and your warm chest against mine, knowing in this one moment all that exists in the world is me and you, breathing softly, swaying gently, holding time tightly in your perfect pudgy fist before it has the chance to slip away.
Tonight, you are still my baby, and I am still your world. It is only us as we dance quietly underneath that bright, bursting sky.