Monday, November 9, 2009

Two Years Old

To a two year old Emery,

My, my how you have grown,  and I right along with you.  It's amazing how fleeting two years can be, and even more so how you have bloomed from a tiny newborn into an articulate, beautiful, spunky little girl.  I've learned a lifetime of lessons in these two years, though I'm forever a work in progress.  In celebration of your birthday, I'd like to share some of my gleaned perspective with you because someday, when the time is right, you may choose to have a child of your own, and there are a few things you should know but I shall surely forget lest I write them down:

Most likely, when you are expecting your first child people will congratulate you.  Then, they'll predict that you won't sleep or eat or have a life that remotely resembles what it was before you had a child.  Ironically, when you finally have your baby you'll wonder why no one gave you insight to how emotionally challenging parenting can be and how it stretches so far beyond skipping meals and interrupted sleep.  You'll find yourself occasionally second guessing carefully made parenting choices, finding your best resource in other mothers and crossing your fingers that you're actually walking in the right direction in this wide open field of motherhood.  You'll finally realize that no sleep actually means no sleep, and that not having time to cook means toast will be your new standard for a square meal for months on end. You'll learn that your life never being the same means you trade your Indie music for Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes and your Yoga Journal for endless repetitions of Green Eggs and Ham.  It might take a while for the weight of your life change to totally add up.  A while as in years.  Two to be exact.  At which point you might plunk down in a heap of exhaustion and frazzled nerves with a two year old jabbering about mommy do this and that in one arm and an infant gurgling away in the other.  Then you will smile a wide smile and nod a silent nod.  Because your life really is this awesome.

Though you will give more than you take, make compromises and sacrifices you'd never have accepted when you were childless, and feel that laundry might be the death of you, what it all boils down to is love--more than you could possibly fathom.  You see, the most substantial gift given to parents is the fact that upon becoming one, your heart grows bigger than your ego.  Tenfold.  You'll live on a high at first, then perhaps sink into depletion.  Even so, as you learn and grow your baby, you will rise up as your heart gradually begins to unfold itself, multiplying in greatness and expansion so that when you are deep in the throes of motherhood and your life is endless cycles of laundry and Elmo songs and little else, you still feel about as lucky as the next lottery winner.  And when, for instance, your barely two year old daughter peers up at you with oceans for eyes and tells you "Mama my best friend" you will know that scarcely a thing in life means blessed diddly next to your daughter.

Still, you may, as I did, spend two whole years discovering what no one could possibly tell me about parenting.  Some of it may render you weary, but so much of it is the fill-your-heart kind.  Like how no one tells you how your eyes will well with happy tears when you stumble upon your 2 year old daughter patting her fussing 3 month old sister on the back and telling her "it's okay, I'm here, Evie. Don't cry. I kiss it."  They won't divulge that you will catch a glimpse of her grinning ear to ear, with that right eye scrunched up a tad more than the left in the way that it does, with her blonde curls glowing in the autumn sunlight, and you will suddenly realize how deeply in love you have fallen with your daughter.  They may leave out the part about when you look at her and see so much of your husband and a bit of your father and still pieces of yourself in her that you truly feel a part of this great circle of life as you watch your own legacy of love stand before your eyes.  No one tells you how guided each step of yours will be because of her, how everything you buy, eat, read, and do will be in part if not completely driven by her existence.  No one can quite explain to you how quickly she will grow from a baby into so much of a little girl and how you will grapple with the speed of it and cling desperately to each bit of her even as she slips through your motherly grasp into this great big world.   

Or perhaps they will tell you, just as my mother told me and just as I am now telling you and you might listen and nod as if you understand, but you won't truly, until finally, you are here.

Someday sooner than I'd like to imagine, you will tote your backpack and clever little noggin off  to grade school, sling your beach towel over your shoulder and walk down to meet your friends at our neighborhood pool, drive away in your first car as your father and I nervously wave you off in the drive, and move away to college or whatever dream pulls you.  Maybe you'll find your best match and start a family of your own.  Even then, my love, even then when you are 5 feet something tall, have a full head of hair and no longer pronounce your L's as W's you will still be my little girl, and I will think of these first two years with you and remember with such clarity the joy, the challenge, the blessing, the personality of sweet, two year old you.

I will recall you eagerly emptying my shoe bins in effort to wear every single pair of mommy's shoes, be it heels or hiking boots, and how you cry when you face the fact that they are indeed "too tight" which I gather, translates to too big. How could I possibly forget you consistently and hilariously mistaking our cat's name, Carsi, for Carseat and our yoga sessions for yogurt sessions?  I will cherish how you have a peculiar obsession with band-aids and practically wear them as accessories, most often on your forehead.  I will remember how you love to hide in a game of hide and seek with your rump sticking out from behind the couch or the curtain and how I always pretend not to have spotted you, wriggling and giggling with your rear end like a diapered beacon in the room. I will sigh at the sweet memory of your personality, the songs you sing with such inflection, your infatuation with cheese and squeeze yogurt (which can substitute as lotion) and the way you curl up so eagerly in the fetal position with your stuffed dog under one arm and your baby doll snug under the other as I tuck you in each night.  There is so much of you to remember.  So much of you to hold in my ever expanding heart.

Most poignantly, I will remember your very beginning and how you landed on my chest in the wee hours of that sunny November morning, a full newborn cry filling my ears, and the joy of it all flooding my heart.  

Today you are two. My whole world turned to color on this day two years ago and it hasn't faded since.

Every bit of awkward adjustment to motherhood is balanced by equivalent delight.  Every second of every day that I hold blonde little you, life through these lenses is changed for the better.

You know, come to think of it, maybe toast is possibly the best meal I ever ate.  Perhaps, Green Eggs and Ham is my favorite book and Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes is the best song ever written, afterall. 

Today,  I smile a wide smile and nod a silent nod because two years with you really is this awesome.

Happy 2nd Birthday Emery! 

Thank you for turning on the lights.

I love you forever,


Kate said...

I am crying big crocodile tears as, despite having a 2-year-old without pigtails or high-heel shoe obsessions, I can relate to every single word of this. Thank you for this wonderful tribute to your daughter--and to the passage of time.

Katie said...

Just beautiful.

Jamie said...

A beautiful post. And so true.

I can't believe she is two!

Courtney said...

This is a lovely post and so befitting of such a lovely little girl.

Can't wait to watch her continue to grow and share her light with the world.