The days are going by at an alarming rate. You are two. I cannot even believe it. I went back today and read the letter that I wrote to you on your first birthday, and I am absolutely amazed at how much has changed since just a year ago.
You have gone from this…
in what feels like the blink of an eye.
In the letter I wrote to you on your first birthday, I wrote of our nightly walks, which came to an abrupt end when winter set in. But as predicted, you now walk beside me. Actually, most of the time, you run full speed and I just try to keep up. But sometimes you’re happy to hold my hand and walk beside me. You are incredibly observant. Your Aunt Erin likes to refer to you as a “walking commentary.” Everything you see, you say. And you keep on saying it until whomever you are with validates it for you. If you see a squirrel, you will say “that a squirrel” over and over again until I say “Yes, that’s a squirrel!” to reassure you that you’re right. You’ve picked up words faster than I ever thought possible. Everywhere we go, someone inevitably stops me to ask how old you are, and comment on how well-spoken you are for such a young age. It’s remarkable. I cannot even begin to list off all of the words you know. It would take up this entire letter! But you still have certain words that you misuse or mispronounce, and I am loathe to correct you because I want you to stay just the way you are for a little while longer. So for now, elephants will be elfatents and penguins will be puengins. When you want to do something, the refrain will remain an adamant “MY do it” instead of “I do it.” I’m ok with that for now.
You’ve begun to be a toddler in earnest. It’s rare that daddy and I exit your room at bedtime without being called back in at least half a dozen times to attend to whatever it is you “need.” Almost every night, we hear, “I need some help!” “I don’t want socks!” “I want some cottage [cheese]!” “I want some milk!” “Mama sing Twinkle!”…The list goes on endlessly. But I always respond. Even after all this time, I can’t stand the thought of you needing something and my not giving it to you, even if what you need is just to control your environment the way toddlers insist on doing.
Along with the adorableness of toddlerhood comes a few minor (OK, major!) challenges. To say that you are insistent is an understatement. Your dad and I try very hard to allow you the freedom to be a toddler, while still providing the safety, stability, and structure that you need. It’s not always easy. There are days where your dad and I just stare at each other, at a complete loss as to how to stem your crankiness, or your bossiness. Although we have our moments of frustration, I want you to know that you are an incredibly well-behaved child. You rarely throw a full-on tantrum, and when you do, it doesn’t usually last long. I know it’s hard for you too. You’re beginning to learn that you can’t always have what you want the moment you want it, or sometimes even at all. That’s a tough lesson for a toddler, but you’re taking it in stride.
You spend your day’s at Kathy’s house. She has told me she thinks of you as her sixth child, and I know that you love it there. You talk about her kids, her husband, and her with excitement and affection in your voice. And she is teaching you amazing things! Without my even realizing you knew how, you can say your ABCs, count to 13 (because that’s how many steps there are in Kathy’s house), and sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
You know your family now, almost all of them by name! That’s no small feat, which I’m sure you’ll understand once you’re old enough. You know you went to the zoo with Pop Pop and still tell us about what you saw. You talk about the things you do with Gran and her dog Ruppie all the time, and about going to Zadie’s at the ocean.
When you get in your toy car and pretend you’re leaving, whenever I ask you where you’re going, you always respond “Bubby’s house,” as if driving to Florida to see Bubby were something we do every day.
I am still just in complete and utter awe and amazement of you. This time last year, I didn’t think it was possible for me to love you any more than I did then. It is just such an overwhelming feeling. Yesterday, as we walked through the grocery store together, there was a moment when i was completely sure that no one has ever loved anyone as much as I love you ever before. I know it sounds absurd and dramatic, but it feels true.
Earlier this year, I posted my oath to you, and every word of it is still true. One year later, you are still my light, my joy, my pain, and my breath. Happy birthday Miles. I love you.