Dear Rowan,

Today is your birthday. I can’t believe I’m typing that, but there it is. You are now 1. Unfortunately, you are spending a good many hours of your birthday at daycare while your dad and I are at work in order to keep the lights on and the fridge full, but this is probably a good life lesson for you, that sometimes you have to spend your birthday — the most important day in your little existence — at school or at work or in Germany when you’d rather be aimlessly wandering around the mall in search of sweet treats.


But the good news is, I am my mother’s daughter, which means I inherited from her the ability to milk a birthday for all it’s worth. So, while you won’t be coming home from daycare tonight to a surprise party (sorry, but there will be cupcakes! and a candle! and Skype calls! and a moment of reflection at 8:22 p.m.), we’ll continue to celebrate this weekend with our good friends Jaz and Ian, and long into next week and even the week after that, when we visit family in California.

Last night — your last first day, I tried to explained to your dad, who looked at me like I was crazy, but truly, yesterday was the last time you will experience December 16th for the first time — we were too tired to cook dinner at home, so we scarfed down burritos at Chipotle (you had a side of black beans with jack cheese melted on top), then took a stroll through the mall. You insisted on walking, so we let you, and man, was it funny watching you amble from kiosk to kiosk. You took a turn for a ladies’ clothing store, then promptly reminded us just how damn cute you are. My heart, it exploded in my chest when I saw this.


For months, I planned to make for you (well, really, for the grandparents) a special video, and wouldn’t you know it, I procrastinated until the very last day and nearly crashed my laptop trying to encapsulate the first year of your life into a 9-minute musical montage. I had to scrap the whole thing in exchange for sleep, which, as we know, doesn’t come easy with you, as you unfortunately sobbed yourself into exhaustion while I sat outside your room, waiting for the post-cry gasps and hiccups to pass. I haven’t abandoned the video project yet, but I’d rather spend tonight watching you shove a delicious Trophy cupcake into your face, and hopefully, I’ll get around to finishing the video this weekend.

I’d hoped to write something more eloquent about your birthday, and I still may, but for now, just know that I love you. Outside of marrying your dad, you are the best thing that ever happened to me.

Happy Birthday, Ro-Ro.

xo Mama



  1. gaunilo

    The awesomeness of the first birthday – what a milestone. Congratulations to you, and happy birthday to Rowan!
    We did the exact same thing with Claire’s 1 year video…it still hasn’t been made, nor a 2 year video, for that matter. *shame*

  2. Wow, Jen. I love this post. It kind of makes me want to have a baby so I can write something similar! ;)
    Seriously though, you are such a great writer and a wonderful mother and this piece is just perfect. I teared up while reading it.
    Love you and your beautiful little boy,

  3. Anonymous

    Happy First Birthday to you Rowan, my weinig kleinzoon cupcake! I have known you now for 364 days.. Perhaps you can have some milk with that cupcake whilst “milking” your special day/week/month/life!
    Love, Your Beppe

  4. Happy Birthday, Rowan! And congratulations on your first year as a mama. (This may sound strange and stalker-ish, but I dreamt last night that it was Rowan’s birthday and that me and my daughter were at his party. I guess it goes to show how I vicariously live through reading people’s blogs.)

  5. Laurel/MIL

    Happy Birthday, Grandson, you are more than we ever dreamed. You fill our hearts with something special. Grandparenthood is ever so SWEET!
    G Laurel & G Manny

  6. I can’t believe it’s been a year. Thanks for letting your readers come along for the ride. I’ve enjoyed all your posts on pregnancy, breastfeeding and just being a mom. This birthday is as much a celebration of you and Roth as it is of Rowan.
    Lovely post. (and Merry Christmas!)

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