Today you turn two-years-old. Two years ago today, we were born. You and me. Mother and daughter. You have finally reached the age where I no longer have to refer to you in months instead of years, which is complete insanity. And this change is especially positive for me since I am horrible at math and whenever people ask how old you are I usually cheat. For the past few months I’ve been saying, “she’s almost two” just to get out of adding up all those months. Lu, your mother is nothing if not crafty.
I probably should write about how much you’ve changed in the last year, how you’ve gone from a drooling baby to a full blown kid, but, instead, I’m going to focus on what has stayed the same. Because despite all of the milestones of the past year – running, jumping, going down the big slide by yourself, somewhat mastering your ABCs – by and large, you are the same little girl you were a year ago. You still have a giant belly laugh that fills our entire home. You still have an ornery personality that is constantly testing boundaries and limits. You still have no fear when it comes to doing something new. All of these things are the same, just magnified by the fact that your little body and brain have grown, giving you more opportunities and ideas than ever before.
You have started to morph into the toddler we always knew you would, regardless of what we have tried to do to stop it. You have a bit of an attitude, yelling at people to STOP if they are doing something you don’t like. In the last two weeks, you’ve gone from singing with us to being horrified if we dare hum a tune while you are in the middle of a song. How dare we dance along with your singing?! “NO!” you scream, while pointing a menacing finger in our faces, and you won’t resume your singing until we are completely still and silent. Can anyone say, “diva?”
But, for the most part, you have turned into a cuddly little bug. In the last week, you’ve fought a horrible cold, giving me the opportunity to have lots of Lu cuddle time. As you usually hate this, I take prime advantage of these rare moments by piling pillows on the couch, popping Finding Nemo in to the DVD player and snuggling up with some soft blankets. Since you have developed a strong hatred for clothes, and pants in particular, you are usually only in a diaper, and you’ll wrap your arm around my neck to twirl my hair. Every once and a while you’ll turn to me, grab my face and giggle “Mommy,” then quickly turn back to the movie. As if you wanted me to know how much you appreciate me being there with you, when you feel so bad, and that in some small way, it makes you feel better.
Lu, as per usual, I just can’t put into words what this year has meant to me. I stopped writing monthly letters to you a while back because I wanted to protect your privacy a bit and I started to feel like I was just regurgitating the same mind-numbing ramblings month after month. I wrote those letters to remind you (and myself) about the early days of our life together and to help keep the entire ride of parenthood in perspective. But I needed some time away from them to fully embrace you and what we have.
You are everything I could have ever imagined, Lu, and everything I never knew I wanted. I always wanted to be a mother, but I never understood how someone could fully encompass my entire being. In the last year, our life situation has changed greatly, with me going back to work, getting an amazing job, and providing for our family full time. At this time last year, I didn’t know if the decisions I’d made were the right ones. I worried my days away with all of the horrible ideas of what my work schedule was doing to my darling girl. But today, I am finally starting to feel confident in my role in our family. These changes have allowed me to become the wife and mother I always wanted to be, and I am so grateful I was forced to make the decisions I did. We are a team, you, your father and me. We are a family unit, as true as can be, and I have you to thank for that.
A few weeks ago, I read a post on the kids design site ohdeedoh featuring a report by Lin Brehmer, of the Chicago radio station WXRT. He answers listener questions twice a week on his show Lin’s Bin, and recently he had been asked, “Why do we have children? What is the point of parenthood?â€ Brehmer begins, “There is no blueprint for parenthood, and if some expert tries to offer one, he is a charlatan.”
His final verdict? Why do we have children? He replies, “Don’t tell me you anticipated a parent’s love. You didn’t. You had no idea.”
I love you, Lulu, queen of the sandbox, songstress, my shining light. Keep chasing airplanes with the idea you just might catch one. Growl at every imaginary monster. Sing to anyone who will listen. Always know it is totally normal to talk to bugs or dogs or trees, and don’t ever stop because you think it’s silly. Keep glowing, little one.
Love always and forever,
Updated to Add: Click here for a birthday shout out for Lulu on ohdeedoh!