I started writing this post last year on my second daughter’s first birthday, but the business of raising two toddlers got me a little off track.
I aim to write my children a letter each year on their birthday (or right around it like this year) to recap the growth I’ve seen in their lives that year. I also have a Bible for each of them that I place notes and prayers in that I plan to give them when they leave my home.
The reason I do these is I want to embrace the commandment in Deuteronomy 11:19 – “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
I want my kids to have a head start in knowing how much they are loved by their Father in heaven before they go into the world. I want them to be able to open that book when they are in tears over a rejection and to see what God has done for them. I want them to have a guidebook that is filled with everything they need to navigate this broken world.
I didn’t write letters to my first two children in their early years, but my little one showed me that I needed to slow down and use my gift to record the work of God in my life and theirs. So, I hope you will help me wish my exclamation point a happy second birthday. She was a surprise and the light she brings into the world is contagious.
Dear Little One,
I cannot believe you have been here with us for two whole years. It feels like we brought you home just yesterday.
When I first imagined what having a baby would be like, you were the picture I got in my head. Sweet, chunky and full of wonder.
Instead, I got your sister first. She rocked my world and then I figured things out. Daddy and I thought we were rockstar parents.
Then, we had your brother. We were not rockstars. We were doing all we could to stay alive and asleep. It’s still like that with him most days.
And then you shocked us. You took my breath away from the first moment I knew you were a little life inside my belly.
I didn’t know my heart could be so full of love when I had your sister. I didn’t know it would stretch to encompass your brother. But I do know that you softened my heart even more. You turned me into a full-time mommy.
You gave me a focus. A mission.
And let me tell you, that mission is not easy. My feet hurt so bad most nights. My nerves are paper thin most days. My alone time is like a friend I mean to write to once in a while.
But resting my chin on your downy soft hair makes all the frustration and fatigue melt away.
Seeing your eyes light up when I tell you we’re having spaghetti for dinner makes my heart smile. I love watching you pull your plate and bowl and cup out of the drawer in anticipation of your feast.
Little One, I told you when you were born that you would laugh until you cried. What I didn’t know was that you would be the one who would me laugh until I cry. You are so creative and your sense of humor and wonder is classic. You get me. We have a secret laughter and wonder about things. I’m so grateful for that.
I told you that your best friends would be two of the best people I know. My prediction was spot on. Your brother and sister are fiercely protective of you. Your brother doesn’t know what to do without you. Your sister loves to present you in full princess attire. She loves you so big.
I told you God’s grace is in full effect in our house. I wouldn’t make it
most any days without it.
I told you we aren’t perfect parents, but we’re the right parents.
You are a precious treasure given to us to love and train up in the way you should go. More of that will happen this year as you learn you are your own person. But your desire to learn is strong.
You amaze me with your thirst to learn. You amaze me with your need to keep up with the big kids. Just don’t forget you’re my baby. I need you to snuggle just a little bit longer.
Some of my favorite moments from this past year:
- The day you discovered princess shoes. You cry over them. You mastered them in two days. You go around the house saying “I got my shoes on.”
- Your “pretty girl.” The way you go show your daddy your outfit (usually a dress) and wait for his compliments. I think this is where you learned about “your pretty girl” dresses, shoes, etc. I love that you recognize you are a beautiful girl. I love that you go to your daddy and tug on those heartstrings. He melts when you walk in the room. As it should be.
- The day we discovered you were a leftie. It’s just so fitting that you would favor a different hand. I love watching you “color” and your obsession with tattooing yourself.
- How you say “the end” when you go through a pile of picture books. It’s so sweet to see you loving books and your excitement of lifting flaps and seeing animals.
- Watching you sit and sleep next to your brother. It’s so sweet to see the friendship and secret understanding the two of you have.
- How you say “mores” when you want more berries or pickles or olives or taco meat or eggs. You love food and and love life. I want to be “mores” like you.
- Watching you dash for every stage you see (at VBS during a prayer) and dancing like no one is watching.
- How you finally decided to walk at nearly 21 months old and now you run and dance and say “Hut, hut” as you hike. And then ask to ride in your seat (my baby carrier) when you’re tired.
- How you drag dresses and sheets around while sucking your thumb and holding a baby doll.
- How you decide you are “over it” and just go take a nap. All you need is a pillow and a blanket and your thumb. You love to sleep and I thank you for that!
- How you hold my hand and say “Come with me.” I love that you want to show me your world. You whisper about trees and birds and airplanes. It’s an honor to be an insider in your world.
- How you pull my arms back around you when I hold you. You are so aware and so focused on the tiny details.
- “Chip, chip, I hold you.” Your enthusiasm for adventure is contagious. Even though my heart is in my chest most of the time when we’re outside with you, you love to chase chipmunks on the side of mountains and climb big rocks or climb to the top of the slide and make excuses of why “I can’t” slide down. Never lose that sense of adventure and wonder, sweet girl.
Little One: You are important, you are loved, you are fun. Thank you for blessing my life so much. I look forward to seeing what your next year holds.
Mama, Mommy, Mom