My littlest grizzly bear,
Time has flown by in a whirlwind, leaving you at an altogether difficult age for all parties involved. You, vehemently searching for your independence — all the while still needing momma & daddy; and the rest of us, wanting you to find your independence so we can catch our breath — all the while needing you to want us a little while longer. You, not unlike the daunting task that is parenting, are a ticking time bomb wrapped in a riddle. To say I have enjoyed every moment of your life would be false. You are HARD. You are WILLFUL. You are the toe up my nose every God bless-ed morning at 2 A.M. But you are also an award winning hug giver. You are the smile and the giggle every afternoon at five when I pick you up from daycare. You are my “for no other reason than to flush the toilet” toilet flusher. You are part of my heart-song and the reason for our hard cider stocked fridge. Most importantly, you are my beautiful, blue-eyed, old-soul little boy. And I love, love, love you.
One day you will grow up for good; you will not remember the headaches you caused any more than you will recall the smiles you so casually produced. You will grow up to be tough and strong, despite your small stature. You will be fearless and bold; I hope you will also be kind and compassionate. But for now, you are the hell-raising, ankle-biting age of two. Compassion and kindness are not often synonymous with “terrible twos”, so I will keep praying that you develop those traits. Until then, here are some things about you that I am somewhat fond of:
- You call anything not water, “moke”. Probably because I made the mistake of giving you a sip of my Coke once, and in a fit of desperation to get you to drink anything else, I called your apple juice, “Coke”. You replied, “moke?” And so it stuck. I have no shame.
- You love hot dogs (no judgment, Earth Mommas) but refuse to eat them if I cut them up. So I watch you like a hawk anytime a hot dog of any ilk is in your presence.
- You are your bubba’s biggest fan. Which is crazy, because before you came along, I thought I would always be his biggest fan. But you have beaten me, bar none.
- If I’d let you, you’d eat a family size box of gummies EVERY DAY OF YOUR EXISTENCE. But hey, if a bag of gummies gets you to relinquish your pacifier and get out the door every morning, then so be it. Again, no shame.
- In keeping with the “m” theme, you call your binky (pacifier) “mink”. Actually, you always say, “my mink! my mink! my mink!” anytime you’re looking for it — even if it’s in your chubby little hand. I’m going to miss that one day… but probably only after we’ve paid off your braces for pacifier-induced overbite. You also call Mickey Mouse “meeka moush”.
- You are a foodie most days, but only on your terms. If food is not made to your liking, or if you’re simply not in an eating mood, to the floor it goes. Or my hair. Or to the walls. Wherever. Did I mention that you’re a hard kid? If not, there it is.
- You twirl my hair when you are falling asleep. This is sweet but also painful. I recently cut my hair and you were not happy with me. Don’t worry, though; my scalp is paying for my treason.
- You say “please” (peesh), “thank you” (tay-too), and “bless you” (bess ooo) without prompt and with much gusto. And if thanks are not reciprocated? Well, it’s no skin off your back to simply repeat it a million times. We’ve learned to belt out a quick, “Thanks Con”. But one day, when I’m grilling you for, “Yes ma’am” or, “thanks”, I’ll miss it.
- You still love being tickled and you LOVE playing in homemade tents or peek-a-boo with Gabe. You should know that he loves it — even if he is five going on sixteen.
- Speaking of, your bubba adored you from the moment we found out about you. He was three, then. You are his buddy and he is your hero. Most days the two of you are inseparable. Hearing you both cackle makes my heart beat harder than I ever dreamed possible. Until I hear a crash… or nothing at all. Then my heart beats with the fear of a thousand lost souls. Time moves like icebergs as I’m rushing to see who is dangling who by who’s toes… or who has climbed the bookshelf… you get the idea.
- You mourn (literally, mourn) for Gabe every weekend that he is gone until he comes back. Then, in an instant, those little eyes turn from gloom to euphoria.
- Your dad comes home on Fridays more often than not. The moment you hear the door, you run to him as though you hadn’t seen him for years. I love that.
- You wait for me at the door every day before I pick you guys up from daycare. I love that, too.
- You call blueberries, grapes, and strawberries “bapples”. You call apples “berries”. And you call bananas, “nuh-nana’s”.
You are a mess, my love. A wonderful, loud, chaotic little mess in size four tennis shoes. But you are MY mess. OUR mess. And we love you as big as the sky. Happy birthday, my little bear.