Joseph turns 1 tomorrow. I have been excited about this day and dreading it for months. At first I didn’t think it would ever come. When I was pregnant I just couldn’t seem to really believe I was going to have the honor of having a real live baby. I was sure something would go wrong. Then, when he was born, I still was sure something would happen. When I started the “Babies First Year” books the whole later part seemed unrelated to me. So too did the word toddler. Throughout the year I have seen myself progress through the books; now I have read the afterward and started the toddler books. Honestly, it wasn’t until he reached 6 months (when the likelihood of SIDS lessens) that it really seemed to me that he would be around for awhile. So, in all of this I really never imagined myself as a mother of anything but a tiny helpless baby. Certainly not a wild and crazy and dirty toddler. But he is here. He has been around living his own life for a year now!! When I think about the fact he is a year old—as I do very often—I feel dizzy. I can’t quite get my breath. I feel shocked. Moved. Holy crap. I still feel like that girl who was soo surprised to find out she was pregnant. Things are moving so fast and I know that this is how life is, but damn. To explain a bit—I have always been nostalgic. Change is hard for me. Not because I don’t like the new whatever, but I am sad to see the old arrangement disappear. At the end of every single semester in college I mourned the change. And that is nothing compared to the pace at which Joseph is changing. Have you ever been in a car wash and the huge brushes come down and start whirring away on the car and you slam your foot on the break even though you know your car is in park? You are sure the car is moving and your body feels scared. You can’t catch your breath for a moment. That is how I feel when I think about Joseph being 1. A bit overdramatic I know, but true. I am excited about all the changes to come; about Joseph’s life ahead of him and my life as a mother and just as me. But I am still shocked to be here now with a one year old child. And I am downright sad the infant is gone forever: the blotchy brand new skin; the tightly curled fingers; the scrunched up and bent bowlegs; the flailing limbs; the tiny mouth helplessly forming a perfect O, silently opening and closing in hunger (all the time) and the sweet drugged sleep when fed. It is hard to remember that newborn Joseph. I have to search my mind for those memories, they are so seemingly distant. When I hold someone else’s infant it is a foreign experience. He is up and running now, with his own ideas and plans. He has quite a personality (wild, fun, opinionated). This crazy pace of growth and change will continue and I will spend my life feeling this same happy shock. What an experience!