Hey, little dude.
This is a first for me. I’m roughly five thousand miles from you on your birthday. And I know you’re only two and you don’t really know what day it is and hardly know what a birthday is (except it’s the day you sing the song, which, coming from you is simply, “Happy………. hoo?” over and over again) but… well, I miss you. It was hard for my mama heart to hug my one-year-old boy good night, knowing I’d be coming home in a week to no one-year-old. (Not that I expect to like you any less as a two-year-old.) I’m sorry I’m missing your birthday. It matters to me, if not to you. I may have gotten a little misty this morning reading last year’s birthday letter, remembering one-year-old you and knowing that baby is gone. He’s been replaced by an equally adorable toddler.
I’m sitting here trying to think what to tell you on your second birthday and the only thing coming to my head is “Ohmygosh, you’re so awesome.” And that’s kind of a boring birthday letter. But you are. I really, really enjoy you.
So let’s talk a minute about this year.
The second year is always kind of a big one. You learned to walk. (Late. Bless you.) You learned to talk. You went from a few scattered words to two and three word sentences. I love watching you try.
You were displaced as the baby.
I always get a little nervous about that when I have a new baby. I mean, you were my baby. When I was pregnant, I didn’t know your little sister, so a small part of me felt like there was a tiny interloper coming to disrupt my time with you. I knew, even as I thought it, that I was being totally crazy and when baby showed up, I’d be fine. But just the same, I worried when I was expecting Lilly that you would get shorted and would think I didn’t love you anymore or wouldn’t like the new baby because she gets parts of mama that used to be yours.
Of course it was fine.
Of course it was.
Better than fine, actually.
You are the sweetest big brother.
You love your Lilly Mae with your whole two-year-old self. I love hearing you in the morning. Often, your first words, before “Mama” or “Light please” or “Out please” are “Tiss. Lay Mae.” (Translation: “Kiss Lilly Mae.”) You don’t care about getting out of bed or eating breakfast or anything else quite as much as you want to give your baby a smooch.
It makes your mama’s heart happy.
And it’s not just your baby sister you adore. Your big sisters have all your adoration as well. When one or both end up gone for any length of time, you (somewhat frantically) call for them until they return. “Day day? Win Woh?” (I write it out because I have to remember the sweet baby way you say “JJ”—Jenna—and “Rin Rose”—Katherine.)
The girls are pretty fond of you, too. Jenna loves caring for you like the tiny mama she wants to be, and Katherine insists on singing “Silent Night” or occasionally “Be Thou my Vision” whenever you go to bed. (I giggle thinking you’re going to learn these songs the Katherine way… “Silent night, holy night. All is calm, all is bright. Wound mayogence, mother and child…” What in the world is a wound mayogence? Oh well, there’s a few more Christmases that I don’t have to explain the phrase “round yon virgin…”)
You’re so utterly delightful. You’re learning to be your own little self, which comes with lots of boundary testing—standard age two. I can’t even mind, though. Yes, teaching you how to be a person is a lot of work. But those sweet eyes? That smile? The delightfully goofy laugh? Totally worth the work.
I love you, Brian boy. You’re growing up exactly the way you should.
Someday you’re going to be a really cool and fairly grown-up human who knows his God, knows himself, and knows where he came from. I’m certain I’ll enjoy who you become.