Hello my heart. I find myself less than a week away from your second birthday, with a lot on my mind and difficulty articulating it (which is unusual for your mom). I wish I’d taken the time to write to you on your first birthday, but you and your brother have kept me busy, and its true what they say about second children getting a little less fanfare than the first. But aside from the missed posts and my not tracking your age in months, there is nothing about you that hasn’t commanded our full attention, energy, and our whole hearts since you arrived.
You’re rough-and-tumble with your brother, and never hesitate to steal his dinosaurs, or destroy his lego creations, or to tag alongside him in a game of superheroes or ninjas. You’ve made me embrace pink and all things girly (as much as I tried to hide it from you). You love food (we often share our favorite snack of Stacy’s pita chips and cow cheese). You love dancing, and making us laugh, but get upset when there are too many people watching. You love stickers, painting, and coloring on anything except paper. You are hot and cold with your dad when he’s home, but ask about him constantly when he’s not nearby. You love your brother and your first words every morning are “Morning Geckett!”. You can finally say “Beckett” but we honestly don’t want you to stop calling him “Geckett”. Our favorite phrases you say are “Els” (your own name), “Luh you”, “eeeeee”, and “right?” at the end of every sentence. Your favorite phrase is “mine”.
You are my little walking contradiction. Housed within your perfectly chubby body and angelic face, hidden behind those brown doll-like eyes which always seem to be glistening from tears or excitement, is a larger than life personality and an iron will. There have been times that I marvel at your strength, and the way you know exactly what you want and your determination in getting it. There are other times when it makes me weak, because you challenge me.
You’ve taught me so many things in these two years. How to listen and observe, and how to be patient in moments of chaos. How to separate myself from my own anger and how to understand yours. Most of all, you’ve taught me how to tune out the rest of the world, to trust my own instincts, and that sometimes there is only me and only you. I hope you’ll always know that I would never want to change you, or fix you, but I will push you. In hopes that little by little, you will start to feel safe without me always there. To trust your gut, but also learn that you can trust other people. To not let anyone tell you how you should feel or act, but to keep yourself open. To not shy away from new experiences, and to harness your fears of the unknown into curiosity about the world around you. If I could, I would keep you protected in my arms forever. But I know how wonderful the world can be, and I know how much there is out there for you to experience, that you’ll love it so much you’ll one day no longer look to me for protection. But until then, and even then, I’ll hold your hand when you need me to, let you cry into my shoulder when you need to, and let you yell and be upset when you need to (just no more grocery store tantrums, please). Happy 2nd birthday baby girl! You make our family, and me, complete.