11 Months

What. A. Year.

On this last day of 2013, Jaxson Bennett turned 11 months old. J and I are both shocked that his first birthday is just around the corner. You would think after nearly a year of adjusting to life with Jaxson, each month wouldn’t come as such a surprise when he gets just that much older, but it still does.

For Christmas, we got a photo frame for his monthly pictures during his first year, so I worked on printing out the pictures and filling it in this weekend. There are only two spots left for his 11 and 12 month pictures and even then, looking at this nearly-completed frame, I still couldn’t believe he’s almost a year old. It feels like he’s always been here, and I think that’s part of the reason for the amazement. Jaxson filled a void in our hearts that we never knew existed until it wasn’t there anymore.

Life has a totally different meaning once you have a child and we are no exception. Each day, each moment, with Jaxson makes me strive to be a better person and to appreciate life – yes, even those moments when he’s spilling his juice all over the floor, chasing our senile cat, and screaming bloody murder because he’s just that upset about getting a fresh diaper. There are new joys, new frustrations, new hopes and fears each and every day, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As a parent, you learn to take the bad with the good. You learn to let the little things go because that’s just what they are – little things. You wipe the juice up off the floor, rescue the cat by putting him behind the baby gate, and figure out how to make Jaxson laugh on the changing table instead of screaming. Parenthood, like life, is about adjusting, adapting, breathing, and enjoying.

When I was filling in the photo frame, I had to go back through all of my pictures from 2013. At the beginning, there were only pictures of J, super pregnant and ready to pop! Next came the pictures from Jaxson’s birth day: the tears, the smiles, the happy grandparents. Somewhere in the chaos was my wife and I – quietly realizing that it wasn’t just the two of us anymore, we had the responsibility of raising a person now. Being pregnant gave J 9 months to become a mother from the inside out. I had to learn how to become a mother during the next 9 months. There were tough times and learning curves, but we finally got the hang of it. The months flew by, bringing their own milestones. One, two, three months and he’s rolling over. Four, five, six months and he’s sitting up on his own and eating baby food. Seven, eight months and he’s crawling. Nine, ten months and he’s starting to pull up and cruise and say “mom”.

And now at eleven months he’s starting to figure out this walking thing. He’ll walk with you holding one of his hands and jets across the living room while holding onto his rolling toy. He tries to lure Bubba over to him by dropping food from his high chair. He loves big people food and “begs” now until you share your food with him. He blows spit bubbles and knows how to shake his head “no” (and he knows what it means). He pats your face to comfort you if you’re crying and he loves to be scared (like when you face away from him then turn back and yell BOO! or when we pretend like we are losing our grip and “drop” him). He loves animals, real and stuffed, and enjoys going shopping. Disney Jr. is on in our house 24/7 because they have all his favorite shows. He actually watches TV now and laughs at what’s happening. He laughs at himself randomly, too, and likes to “sing” along to the radio in the car. He is smart, kind, and handsome, too – the full package. We are so very lucky to have this little boy in our lives!

As we’re saying goodbye to 2013 and heading into 2014, I’m reflecting on the past year and how great 2013 really was. Jaxson was born. We bought our first home. I finished college. J is back to her pre-pregnancy weight. We have a healthy savings account and good credit. And I’m proud to say we accomplished all of our goals for 2013 and are looking forward to what we can do in 2014.

We’re doing Jaxson’s 11 month pictures tonight, so I’ll put them up as soon as I can. Happy New Year everyone!

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