A Letter to My Daughter, Year Two
I’m here thinking about you, of course that’s always the case. When you’re present you are all-encompassing. You are larger than life, my little tornado. You barely sit which means I barely sit and so we go, from room to room, toy to toy, up and down the stairs all day long. When you’re at school and I have a moment to write or read or do blog work, without interruption, you infiltrate my thoughts and become a different kind of distraction. I suppose this is just the plight of motherhood, you are always a mother.
Here we are a day before your birthday and I’m thinking about life 2 years ago. February 8th and my c-section fell on a Sunday, because you were breech and stubborn, already, and you had decided that you were not going to come naturally. We had just moved into a new house and were feverishly working to get it in order before you arrived. The weekend before I remember vacuuming, scrubbing, I was a nesting frenzy in those final days. I remember taking a rare nap that Friday afternoon. Knowing that it would be the last nap I would take before everything would change so drastically, before my whole world would open up and I would never again be able to imagine life without you.
And here we are, 2 years later, with no trace of the baby that you once were. You, stepping straight into toddler-hood and never looking back. Your dad and I had a conversation a few days ago about how some parents describe their children as old souls who walk softly on this earth. You, my love, are the opposite of this in the best possible way. You are so undeniably yourself, all fire and confidence and “babytude” as your Auntie Flo likes to call it.
You know so clearly what you want, like this morning when you insisted on putting on your footie pajamas to go to school and cried when I said no. How even after I took them off you, you continued to hold them like a blanket all the way to school only to drop them the second you saw your friends in circle time.
You are so strong and such a leader, how is that possible at not even 2? Your dad took you to the baby gym over the weekend and you managed to get a trampoline full of 4 year olds to all lay down with you, arms behind your heads, and start a giggling fit. I hope you hold on to every bit of your confidence and strength as you grow. I promise to make it my mission to ensure that it isn’t dimmed by the pounding of this world.
However, for all your confidence and strength, you are also gentle, kind and empathetic. A few weeks ago you noticed that mommy was crying for the first time. Big tears rolling down my cheeks because of my back pain. I will never in a million years forget the way you came over, said “mama crying”, patted my arm and stood up to give me a kiss on my head. My heart just about exploded in that moment.
You are the same with the cat, now that you understand gentle a little better, you are more than happy to cuddle with him on the bed. For a girl who never sits still it is pretty amazing to see how much you love just lying there with him. You have also taken to asking me to swaddle your stuffed elephant so that you can bounce and shush him. It makes me smile each time you gently kiss his elephant trunk.
You are such a social butterfly. Currently loving your uncle Dave, your aunt Sarah, your best friend Ojas and Ciara the neighbor next door, fiercely. But the most amazing bond over the past year, by far, is your connection with your dad. Your first word in the morning now is always daddy. Throughout the day you constantly ask me where he is and you get so excited when you hear the key in the door, lighting up as soon as he walks into the room. You love your bath with him, your special time when all I hear from downstairs are animal noises, singing and laughing. You are such a daddy’s girl and I’m sure as you get older you’ll realize that you have that strong manly man wrapped around your tiny little finger.
Some days you try my patience like no other. Constantly remind me that I am not in charge, even though I try really hard to pretend that I am. I’ve learned the art of watching you flail and thrash on the ground because something as silly as a crumb is stuck to your foot or I won’t let you pull all the floss out of its container. When I’m watching you fuss or I’m trying to reprimand you I sometimes have to stifle a laugh for how intensely you’re feeling your feelings.
I said it last year but the same goes for this year, it has been one of infinite growth on both our parts. I went from mothering a stationary being to mothering a little human. Your personality lights me up and my love for you grows stronger with every day. I love our little conversations, our morning story time on the kitchen floor next to the heating vent. Like every parent I cherish nap time but oh how I love that sweet smell you have right after you wake up.
As you get older I hope I never forget how many afternoons I spent laying on the floor in your room because you didn’t want to get out of your crib but you also didn’t want me to walk out of the room. Or how it takes us hours to walk a few blocks because every puddle must be stepped in, every rock must be examined and every car must be pointed out.
Or how just yesterday, you decided that a pair of shorts would make the perfect hat and you ran around in a house full of people like that for hours.
Some days have felt impossibly long as I’ve collapsed into an exhausted heap minutes after I’ve shut your door for the night. And yet, here we are, 2 years behind us like the blink of an eye. You weren’t even walking at this time last year and your vocabulary was maybe 10 words. Now it’s all jumping and climbing on window sills while singing songs and saying full sentence.
By far, my favorite words out of your mouth are I love you and how you say it over and over as you walk from room to room pushing your stroller and blowing air kisses. Even still, despite your independence pulling you to explore other rooms, whenever I ask you for a real kiss, you always run over with enthusiasm. If this is a foreshadowing of life ahead, you heading out to explore new worlds, I hope you always feel enthused to come back “home” and that you always feel you can find an anchor in me.
My dearest Noe, there are no words to describe my love for you. My only hope is that you feel it every second of every day because it is the truest, most sincere emotion I’ve experienced in my entire life. Maybe some day, if you have a child of your own, you’ll realize how all-encompassing my love for you is, until then, you’ll just have to trust me.
Happy Birthday beautiful girl.