When you’re awake, you light like a firework, your eyes glistening with energy and a slight darting agitation, always on the lookout for your next adventure. On the rare slower days you wake up hazily, mumbling “mama, tummy” and burying your face in my stomach, your eyes fluttering as you drift back to sleep. It’s why I selfishly enjoy keeping you up past your bedtime, why I’m often late for work, why our bed remains unmade at the end of a rushed morning. Because rumpled sheets, smudged makeup, a mismatched outfit – all give way to morning snuggles – stolen time in exchange for warm sugary kisses, nose nuzzles, and marshmallow hugs. With a forgotten phone and misplaced keys, I’m repaid with blanket forts and soft morning gibberish.
Today you cried yourself into a hacking cough, snot running into your mouth, as you clawed your way past my body to avoid timeout. You told me and your dad to “go away, go away over there!”, refused most of dinner, held your poised arm gripping a toy hammer over the glass panes of the cabinet while maintaining eye contact and questioning “no?” with a sly smile. When you know full well what is and isn’t “no” behavior. You try my patience, and have the ability to turn good days to bad in the span of minutes. But you are a walking, breathing ray of happiness that fuels my every minute.
You’re talking now in full sentences (in two languages!), singing songs and using words we didn’t teach you, repeating things we wish you wouldn’t, connecting so many dots I can feel the window of my being able to teach you things closing more quickly than I imagined. You can sing your ABCs (with a few blanks), and count to ten. Your favorite foods are fish, kolaches, hash browns, and chocolate cake (you are your mother’s son). You love trains, Legos, building things (without help), dismantling things, dancing, books, and taking selfies. You love other kids, your grandparents, and labeling any grouping of things of varying sizes as mama, dada, and baby. You have an unbelievable memory that has taken away our ability to falsely promise you things “tomorrow”, because you will wake up every morning for the next week reminding us of what you’re owed. You are sweet and highly considerate of the kids around you at the playground, but will not hesitate to resort to tantrums in the safety of your parents’ company. You understand humor and the art of misdirection, you beam when saying “I did it by myself!”, you fake cry when you have small stumbles but don’t make a peep when you have a real injury. You are as stubborn as you are cute, and with our first attempts at discipline your typical response is a ripple of giggles and a megawatt smile, because you know how easy it is to break mommy’s mean face.
You are 2 now. And I find it nearly impossible to remember a life prior to the last two years of the last thirty-one of my existence. Without question, it’s been the years with the most stress, the most worry, the most tears, and the least sleep. But we have been filled with the most laughter, the most memories, and the most unbelievable joy.
Happy birthday to our everything!