A year ago my life definitively changed. A year ago you became part of my life. A year ago we became a family. So, I think you have understood: Today it’s your first birthday. You’re growing, aren’t you?
A lot of things have happened since that scary day. You can’t remember, but it still plays in my mind. The shotgun, people screaming and your mother being hurt and I couldn’t reach her. And then, you. So little and fragile I was almost afraid to touch you, to stroke your skin. And you got through it all. You survived and gave us strength and hope. You’re a miracle, you know?
Ok, I’m a little too sentimental today, but I can’t help it. You’re so beautiful. It’s amazing seeing your growth, all your discoveries as your first snow or first Christmas. Just amazing. And now you’re one year old.
We changed during this first year together. I fell in love even more with your mom and I know she’s feeling the same way. She isn’t afraid of love anymore, and I should thank you. I’ve already said it thousandths times but we’re a great family. We’ve had our problems, our fights (you weren’t a sleeping baby, don’t laugh at me, it’s not funny…), but we are still there. Together. And I think that’s the point. We’re still here, together and happy to be still together. And I know future will bring other problems and other fights, but I’m not scared: I have you, I have your mom and that’s everything that matters.
And you… you changed too. You are the one who changed the most. You started walking, for example. Ok, maybe defining “walking” what you’re doing is too much, but you know what I mean. You can stand for some seconds and you can take four or five steps all alone. And I can say you enjoy your little walks considering you can’t stop laughing while doing them. But that’s ok, you have the cutest smile in the whole world.
You gave us your first word too. And I have to thank you again. You listened to me and this made me feel a better father. So, I remember it well: We were in our living room and your mom was holding you. Your eyes were half-closed and you were ready to fall asleep, but suddenly you opened them and looked at your mom. You gazed into each other’s sight for a while than you grinned and said: “Momun”. You did it, baby! You gave your first word to your mother. And she was glad and satisfied and had tears in her eyes. And I was glad and satisfied and had tears in my eyes too. It was a great moment and it made me feel so happy and whole. And you’re a good boy, you listened to me, ok, but now I think that starting to call me “tata” should be your next step. Don’t forget about me, ok?
You’re yawning, your mouth a perfect “o”. Tired, huh? You should be: you had an amazing party, today. Probably you didn’t understand why all those people were standing chattering and smiling at you all day, but you’ll understand later. They were all here to cheer you. And you received a lot of presents. Too many presents I should say. There’s no space in your bedroom for them. And I don’t think you’ll have time to play with all of them. And that stuffed clown is awkward (as your stuffed panda. I know you like it, but there’s a little joke between your mom and me) and maybe I should put it away. Sorry, but I can’t stand clowns and I don’t need them in my house, ok?
I didn’t give you any presents. I can’t think at something which can suit you well. It’s always the same story: a year ago I couldn’t choose a name, now a present. Let me think. You need something special, which shows the love I feel for you… mmhhmm… oh, I have it! These letters. They’re going to be yours in the future. Don’t you think it’s the perfect present? No? I don’t care, you’re going to have them anyway because they do are the perfect present. They describe all your life, your happy and sad moments, they’re your life seen from your dad’s eyes. And don’t even try to complain: On Christmas 2006 I gave your mom a compass… so, weird dad goes with weird presents. The meaning of that compass was true, though. As you can see we are still finding each other. But it’s a long story and you’re barely awake. I let you sleep, I will bother you with your parents’ love story another day. Sleep tight, Gabriel.
I love you, baby.