Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A belated birthday letter to my 2.25-year-old

Faces1

My dearest Little Miss,

Happy second year! I know, I’m only four months late with this letter but hey, what can I say? A lot has happened. If I had written this when you just turned two, it would have had a completely different tone, so in a way, I’m glad I waited. Because now I wouldn’t have to lie about anything. More on that later.

For now, let’s focus on the upbeat. Like how much you amaze me every day. My favorite part about your turning two is your language explosion. You are not just fun to watch, you are also funny, although I don’t think you mean to be. Once you came up to me and said in an almost whisper, “Mommy, I toot a little. It’s very quiet.” Not sure why, but I was proud of you. How considerate of you to not embarrass me in public like that.

As I write this, Thumper will be here in two-ish months. When we told you about the baby in the belly, you asked for a sister, and voila! Your wish was granted. See? Aren’t we great parents? I see the way your eyes twinkle at the sight of babies, and it warms my heart. It’s no surprise that you gravitate towards baby dolls, even the creepy one with the droopy eyelid in Toy Story 3 (why that particular one when most kids go for Woody, Buzz or even Jessie, is beyond me), and the delicate care you give them tell me that you’ll be a great big sister. You talk about her like she’s already a part of the family, like when you unearthed an old pacifier we kept in your dresser and said: “This is for Baby Thumper when she cries.” Indeed.

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A sibling may be a big change, but I think you’ll do just fine because while many kids balk at change, you welcome it. We are moving in less than a month, and you are just as eager yourself: “Mommy, let’s go to the new house!” I suspect you will have no issues adjusting to your new environment. Just like you did with your first day at daycare 1, then daycare 2 and finally preschool. Not to mention your milestones. You’ve always been ready way before we were (and are) as parents. You’ve led the weaning process and requested the big-girl bed and preschool. Now you’re nudging us to potty-train you (even when we’re not quite there ourselves). We are constantly trying to catch up to you, which sometimes makes me want to yell, slow down kid, what’s the hurry?!

Your resilience has often showed me that I’ve been more worried than I needed to be. You’ve proven to me over and over again that my fears were (and continue to be) unfounded because adapting and thriving seem to be your nature. You even like going to the doctor’s and getting your haircut! We’ve been so lucky with you. I can only hope you’ll continue to exhibit the same enthusiasm for the dentist someday.

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That reminds me: At the beginning of this letter, I said I have some explaining to do. A few months ago, things weren’t looking so good for us as a family. Tremendous pressure and stress, as well as unresolved issues from our own past, drove your daddy and I emotionally apart from each other and from this family.  

On a particularly tough day, about two months ago, the day that turned everything around, you found us both in an intense conversation and me crying. Though I could see you were rattled, you still managed to grab me a tissue, climbed onto my lap and gently cupped my face with your dimpled little hands and said, “It’s OK mommy, it’s OK.”  And that brought us to our knees. We knew then that other than this family, nothing else mattered. That you deserved the childhood neither of us had but desperately wanted. That yes, it will be OK. And it is.

Because of you, we continued to hold on, worked hard and made things right again. In the end, we found our way back home. You didn’t realize it then but when you looked into my eyes and touched my face and said those words, you saved me. You saved us.

And now we are the happiest we have ever been, so thank you. Truly. Thank you.

As you continue to grow into this extraordinary human being I have no doubt you will someday become, if you’re anything like your daddy (which I think you are) you will push yourself to be strong, to be remarkable, to be amazing. But you know what, my sweet girl? You already are.

I love you, and I am so honored to be your mother.

Always,
Justine

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