A letter to my daughter on her second birthday

Dear Lena,

Tomorrow you will turn two years old. It’s more than a little cliché to remark on how quickly the time flies.

But, it does.

I’m not the first mother to gaze into her growing child’s eyes and wonder, “Who is this tiny person and when did she learn to do that?”

But, I do.

Loving you, watching you learn and grow, even helping you through big, tough emotions has brought me more joy than I ever could have imagined. I see you. I really see you, and I am in awe.

When you’re older you won’t remember this time in your life so let me (very inadequately and inarticulately) tell you my impressions of you at almost two years old.

 

You are empathetic and kind. Often you ask me, softly and inquisitively, “Mommy, can I hold my baby doll? Can I kiss her?” When you hear another child cry at the playground, you look around and then say to me, “He sad and miss his mommy.” Last week when you saw one of the characters on Daniel Tiger was upset you said, “She scared. I scared sometimes, too.”

You are curious. “What is that noise?” What’s her name?” “What is this song?” “What is thaaat?” All day long Daddy and I field your questions as you encounter the world. I love to ask you back, “What do you think about it?” These little conversations are without a doubt, the best part of my day. Laughing with you and hearing about how you see things is beautiful. (Ask me one day about our conversation about vulvas!…)

You have strong opinions. Since day one, you’ve known what you wanted. You cried and wailed as a baby until we learned to tune into what you were saying. As you grow, we communicate more easily and get a glimpse into what you’re thinking and feeling. Sometimes it’s overwhelming for us, as I’m sure it is for you, but it’s also astounding to see just how much you’re observing and processing about your world.

You are joyful. Going for a walk, snuggling with mommy, or finding a new rock regularly elicits the exclamation, “This is ah-mazin’!!” I think you already understand it’s often the small parts of the day that bring the most happiness, something I’m not sure most adults realize. I hope you never, ever lose that spark.

I don’t expect you to understand the way that your parents see you until or unless you have children yourself. I know I didn’t. We love you unconditionally, you know that. But I want to tell you that the most important thing is how you see yourself. And baby girl, you are perfect.

I don’t mean that you do everything perfectly, or that perfection is even desirable or obtainable. What I mean is that you are a whole, complete, stunning, complex person, just as you are.

There is no missing piece out there waiting to fulfill you. You are not the career you choose or the mistakes you make. You are not a partially formed person waiting to grow up to become full. Your life will be shaped by your experiences but you are more than them. You already ARE you and always will be.

Happy, happy birthday, Lena. I can’t wait to start on our next adventure. I know it will be ah-mazin’.

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–Mommy

 

 

 

Romance and stuff

The husband and I have been together since dinosaurs roamed the Earth, also known as 2001, and we’re coming up on a dating anniversary at the end of the month. When you’ve been in a long term relationship you think you’ve seen all of each others’ moves. Enter baby, and it’s a whole new ballgame. I’m in a silly, listicle kind of mood tonight so listen up, partners with children. Here are some seriously sexy moves you can employ in your household. You know, to keep the romance alive.

2003 maybe? Babies.
2003 maybe? Babies.
  1. Voluntarily take the toddler with you when you run an errand.
  2. Run out to get ice cream when your partner mentions they’re craving it, even if they haven’t been pregnant in a year and a half (or longer).
  3. Hunt down that giant spider cricket she swears she saw in the baby’s room without making her feel weird for invoking stereotypical gender roles.
  4. Get on the same page when it comes to “date night.” Perhaps a quickie and some conversation as soon as the baby goes to bed followed by binge watching The X-Files on Netflix and consuming junk food you wouldn’t want your daughter to eat. Just a random suggestion.
  5. Tell your partner their post-baby neuroses are “cute” and “entertaining.” Even if you don’t mean it, lying is just as good.
  6. Make up little games with the kid when you’re with them all day and excitedly show your partner when they get home.
  7. Send helpful and/or ridiculous text messages throughout the day. Exhibit A, B, and C.Screenshot_2015-09-23-20-07-34-1IMG_1059Screenshot_2015-09-23-20-04-49-1
  8. Find time to talk about politics, stupid internet memes, and baseball in between stories about your kid and deciding when to get the gutters cleaned. (Not a euphemism).
  9. Keep doing all of these things especially on the really, really shitty days when you only want to walk out the door or hide in your bed for the next year. Remember that you don’t have it all figured out, but so far this ship ain’t sinking, and that’s good enough.

 

–Heather