The first year has come to an end. I can now put the “What to Expect the First Year” on the book shelf and pull down “What to Expect the Toddler Years.”  I’m in amazement at how much our son has changed in 365 days. The development, the personality, the ability from then to now. Incredible. Those arms and hands that had erratic wills of their own are now throwing balls, picking up small bits of food and blowing kisses (more or less). The babe that laid on his back cooing is now discontent laying and motors to every nook and cranny exploring, flinging, opening, closing. He’s a stuffer and a slider. Stuffing puzzle pieces inside empty boxes and dominos in between books on the shelf; sliding toys underneath my leg and books underneath doors. Oh, to watch him play!

Today is our son’s birthday. We threw a party with family, friends, popcorn and The Play Café to celebrate his life. AND to celebrate my husband and me surviving the first year with our first child. Phew and halleluiah! His first year has been so different from mine. I was surrounded by corn, gravel roads and space; he by sky scrapers and people. Lots of people. As a big city boy, he’s ventured on the trains and buses and been the littlest fan at a Cub’s baseball game. His next door neighbors live three feet away and he’s made friends from nearly 20 different countries.

This year he experienced his first plane ride (opening and closing the window shade the whole way), first nasty, lingering respiratory cold, first single digit temperatures outside, and first swim in the ocean. He prefers to see the world upside down (physically, upside down) and squeals with laughter when we hold him in our arms and spin ‘round. He’s discovered balloons, thanks to Uncle Lewie, and is obsessed. This obsession is just an extension of his love for all things round–balls, grapefruit, pompons, etc.

He’s found a fascination with my belly button and mouth and dad’s nasal cavities, even gave him a bloody nose that one time because a wee little finger was inserted a tad too far. Despite this social clumsiness, he’s well-received by people. He loves people and attention, giving smiles away like candy. And like his daddy, he can be quite the entertainer. We have people in our home regularly for dinner or overnights and his excitement truly elevates when someone walks through our door. Whether he’s met you before or not, it’s like he’s seeing you for the first time every time.

What a year of firsts for our son and for us! Little one, it’s been a joy to learn you, to watch you grow, to find fun in being goofy together and to pray for you as you sleep. May you know at age 1 (and 100!), that we—your parents—treasure you and are wildly for you. Happy birthday, son!

A First Year Limerick

There’s a blonde-headed boy turning one today

One who’s smiley and curious we’d say.

It’s you we adore

And we’ll always fight for,

May you grow in truth and grace we pray.

Josi Seibert

Josi was born and raised a Nebraska girl. As many Cornhuskers did, she grew up on a farm in a small rural community. Upon graduating from Nebraska Wesleyan University, she exchanged cornfields for skyscrapers as she moved to Chicago to attend Moody Theological Seminary. It was there that she met her beloved husband, Ryan, and grew an interest in cross-cultural relationships as she worked with international students, refugee families, and lived in one of the most diverse communities in the country. She and her husband moved to Ghana, West Africa in September 2013 with a team of friends to start a business. In 2015 they resettled back in Chicago to welcome their first child and are currently working with World Relief, helping resettle refugees and find them employment. You're invited to keep in step with them as they live, work, learn and play: