My sister and brother-in-law created an email address for my nephew Harrison shortly after he was born and asked that my family use it to write him notes for when he's older. Today we celebrated his first birthday and this is what I wrote.
To my sweet little Harrison:
Today is your official birthday, but the truth is we've been celebrating you all weekend. Yesterday your parents, your grandparents, Aunt Ashley, Uncle Bryan, Tucker and I threw a party in your honor at Grandma and Grandpa's condo on Muskegon Lake. Your mom also invited Janice McDonald, the doctor who delivered you, and her husband John. We ate brunch and drank mimosas and watched you make a mess out of your cake. Then John played the guitar and sang songs because music is one of your favorite things. The whole time he was playing you were smiling your big, three-teeth smile that melts my heart every time and clapping your hands and looking around the living room with a face that asked, "Can you guys even believe this is happening right now?"
Over the course of the last 365 days you have given our family so much to smile about. You're beautiful and smart and sweet and I was just telling your mom today how hard it is to imagine life without you. I live in San Francisco but we see each other almost every day on FaceTime, so I feel like we've shared a lot of great moments together during your first year. In fact, I oftentimes find myself humming your favorite songs ("Open Shut Them" is particularly hard to shake) and smiling to myself about silly things you've done. You started walking recently and you're getting really good at it. You can also say a few words, but it gives me great pleasure that the one you say most often is book.
I've attached some of my favorite photos from the past weekend. I hope you enjoy them as I much as I do, and I hope you can see how loved you are.
Happy birthday, Harrison.
P.S. Instead of giving you toys for your birthday, I gave you money for college. You didn't seem to care very much today, but I promise you will someday.