Dear Luis

Happy Birthday!

I know this is late, you’re one year and eleven days old now.  I’m sorry you got your birthday sweater a little late, but I figure you’re too little to know really, so I took a liberty. 

Yarn: my own handspun merino. Pattern: Antler.

I know that you’re too little to read this, but it’s been almost a year since one of your knitted things came with a letter, so it’s time. 

I would like to thank you for the last year.  I know that’s silly, that all you did was get born, but what you have done in this family is nothing short of miraculous.  Your time here so far has brought a new depth of love and closeness to all of us that no other person could have created. 

Thank you for the gift of your mother. You’ve taken someone we already adored, and created a mum that we are all proud of. Her tenacity, her respect for you, her dedication to your happiness is a thing of wonder to behold, and because of you we’ve been able to see this in her. She’s not just Katie to us any more (not that that wasn’t ever enough) she’s a brilliant mum, fierce and kind and we’ve all been privileged to see her skill and mothering revealed to us as you grow. You’re a good teacher.

Thank you too, for what you’ve done for your dad.  I admit I didn’t know him as well as I should have when you were born. He was in my family – but he wasn’t yet my family, if you know what I mean.  Over the last year my little family’s relationship with him has deepened and grown into something more meaningful and committed.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a man smile as much as your father does when he’s with you, and having his nature revealed to us through you has been a great gift.

Thank you also, from the bottom of my heart, for what you’ve given my Joe. I know you can’t possibly know this, because you’ve only known him for a year, but he was a little anti-baby when you came along. Don’t get me wrong, he liked babies okay, but he was afraid of them and worried about him being so big and them being so small, and he sort of thought it best to get involved with wee people when they were older, and sturdier, and could play and talk.  The joy he takes in you has been breathtaking for me. To see him eager to hold you, to rock you and cuddle with you…

He thought babies didn’t like him. The clear delight you take in everything Joe has changed his perspective entirely.  I’ve never seen the like.

I could go on. I could thank you for the energy you’ve brought the whole lot of us… it was time for a baby, with all the other kids grown up. It’s beyond wonderful to see the softness in your Grampa, and as much as we tease her, the 3898736 pictures of you on the "nana-cam" and the way your Nana shows them to every person she meets is an absolute expression of the joy and happiness you’ve brought her.  I could thank you for the gift of Carlos’ family, I wouldn’t  know them and my fifty words of Spanish without you. I could thank you for the gifts you’ve given your cousins. All five young women clearly adore you, and you’re helping them learn what they might try to be like as mothers. (Later. Not yet.) I could thank you for all the times you’ve been the reason that the family gathered for dinner, we see more of each other now.  You have enslaved us all with your charm.

Mostly though, I want to thank you for liking me.  For letting me rock you to sleep sometimes, for giving me the gift of a warm, soft little body melting into my arms again.  I have missed it.  I want to thank you for laughing at all my jokes, for crawling towards me when I come into a room, for never getting tired of peek-a-boo and pretending that you love it as much as I do. Thank you for loving us all back. We adore you beyond all reason.  You’ve improved the lot of us, and I hope that for your whole life our gratitude washes over you as love, and as sweaters.   Like your blanket, your birthday sweater is not just a knitted thing.  It is a hand-spun, hand-knit expression of all I feel for you, and all that I want for you. 

Thank you for coming.  We love having you here.

Be warm, Happy Birthday,

Auntie Stephie

(PS, thanks too for making your parents such awesome sweater photographers. They took most of these shots.)