One Year

A lot can change in a year - we now know that more than ever. Today we celebrate the first birthday of our son Charles James. Such a bittersweet day, but one we look forward to repeating each November.

Charlie is such an amazing kid. So different than his older brother, John, but a perfect fit for our family. Seeing his toothy smile always helps wash away whatever stresses the day may have brought.

Charles, Charlie, CJ, C, whatever we may call him has challenged us day in, day out. Tested our fortitude as we spent 63 days by his side in the NICU. Pulled every nerve as we maintained oxygen tanks and monitoring for three months after he was out. Forced us to doubt our parenting skills as he faced developmental stages differently. And required us to drop our guard and treat him as any infant once he made it past known health issues. The challenge was worth every second of doubt and every night of wide-eyed restlessness.

It is an odd feeling to look through a history of pain to realize such joy for your child. Some of the innocence was lost raising Charlie, but we continue to do our best to ensure we maximize this gracious life given to Allison and I.

John and Charlie were fast friends and seeing the love they already have for each other is the biggest reward for which we could ask. They love to put their faces as close as physically possible to each other, we can only imagine what is going through their minds. Sure will be interesting when they are able to express their feelings in true boy fashion.

We are so proud of Charlie and celebrate every minute we get to spend with him. We get to raise one where there should have been two, but in our minds to know Charlie is to know Sam.

Happy birthday Charlie, we hope you already feel that you are special - one day you will know why.

Happy birthday Sam, we are special to have known you even if only for 26 days. Not a day goes by that we don't think about you. We continue to wonder what you would have been like, but know you would have been great. You will always be our sweet Sam and we will always be your Mom and Dad.

Happy birthday boys. We love you both.