Today you are twelve months old.

For the last month or so I've been working on your birthday gift. Things were going well and then suddenly I stopped working on it. But not just stopped. I started avoiding it. I started actually getting many other things done just to avoid working on your gift.

I made drapes for the kitchen window. And decorations for your party. And framed and hung some prints I made while pregnant with you. Etc. Etc.

You always know there's something wrong with me when I start getting shit done.

But your big day was coming quickly and so I got back to work. Worse than facing emotions is not having a gift to give. But as I draft this letter to you, it's still, technically, not done. There is one last step to take and I'm still not ready.

Your gift is a quilt. The top is made from old pairs of pants, all in grays, that I once wore at some point in life, an outline of San Francisco stitched in. The back is natural flannel embroidered with your initials, the date and time of your birth and the geo-coordinates of the location. And in between is a layer of batting and your birth sheet.

Please, please don't ever ask me to take the sheet out so you can see the stain. I took a photograph of it; I hope that will do.

Putting your birth sheet inside a quilt and stitching it down felt so final, like a burial of sorts, like your birth was really over and it was done. It was so hard for me to let go and put it to rest.

And last, the last thing to be done, is the point on the map where you were born. The location. Home.

When I went out to find us an apartment I was already pregnant and already planning to birth you at home, so every place I walked into I had to ask myself: Can I give birth here.

Your birth was curated. The time, the place, the bed, the sheets, the midwives. Everything. Most births just happen, in ways, that yours was decided. The sheets were from your great-grandpa's house. The bed was the only thing I really pushed for, something proper, because somewhere inside me I knew you weren't to be born in a tub, but right on our bed. (I actually had strong feelings about the foot of the bed, on the floor, but that's not how it went down.) The blankets we wrapped you in and the hat you wore first thing were not handed to us by a nurse; they were given to us by family and friends. Everything we washed and dried a bit extra to kill the germs.

Indeed, anything could have happened that day, as is possible in any birth, but the details were all planned by us: your mama and papa and midwives.

I really hope that once you're old enough to understand the meaning of the quilt that you find it endearing, or, at least, charming and thoughtful, and not as weird as it all might sound.

The fact that your favorite nursery rhyme involves a black sheep has me thinking otherwise.

Yes, your mother is weird, and even weirder around birthing, because I tell you this: It's all you from here. I just wanted to give you the best start at life possible.

And now that your day is here and I've wished you a happy birthday the moment you opened your eyes this morning, I've made a knot and cut the thread. Your quilt is done.

There are a few moments in my life that I will never forget, that I will always be able to recall vividly. The moment you spilled out onto our bed, this is something I will always know. That very second I saw you for the first time. I will never forget. You were exactly as I'd imagined, the same baby as my vision, the first time I saw you come down from the stars, there you were.

But better.

Happy Birthday.