Well now she’s just two.
The big day is over. The balloons deflated, some streamers fell, the wrapping paper that littered the floor is in the trash, and our two year old is snug in her bed. If it wasn’t such a wonderful week(end), I would probably be even more sad than I am. But the planning and dreaming and creating came to life – and Leah was a very happy little girl the past couple of days.
Birthday’s are a big deal to me. I think because my parents always made them a big deal for my sister and I. It’s a day you can focus only on one person… what they want. What they like. How to make them happy. To not worry about anything but a single, certain person. And I’ve learned that there is nothing more fun than celebrating a little life. A little life where everything is magic, everything is special, and everything is fun.
It was a good weekend to be a mom.
Our house practically vomited Winnie the Pooh and all his pals – and frankly, I’m having trouble taking things down. Duncan helped with some streamers this morning, and some balloons met their demise – but I think whatever can hang on will be allowed to. So what if there’s a Pooh banner exclaiming Happy Birthday to our little girl in a month – when it catches her eye she sparkles, points, and names her friends one by one. And if Tuck is still hanging in between the living room and dining room in a few weeks… so be it. He puts a happy mood into the place.
The decorations were everything I wanted. The party was fun. The food was plenty and good. The presents were many. But thankfully, Leah gave me a moment to realize just what was what.
Friday night, the night before the big party, when I had big plans of getting things in order for the big day – Leah halted everything. Thursday night, she got to stay up pretty late. And while she was a gem then, Friday night it caught up to her. Our little overtired bug needed some help falling asleep. And with thoughts of dishes that needed washing, floors that needed swept, presents that needed wrapping, and streamers that needed hanged – I scooped her up and took her to the rocking chair. As the seconds passed with her snuggled into my chest and legs draped down mine – my thoughts shifted from party madness to what a sweet little thing I was holding. Just how special she is. How much she has changed our lives in two years. How much she has changed in the last year. And what the future holds for us all.
And as pregnancy hormones or birthday sap got a hold of me, my eyes started leaking soft tears. I wanted her to have a fun party; to have a good birthday. But I just wanted her to know that I treasured holding her. That I was thankful for her happy little spirit every single day. That I actually hurt when she’s sad or hurt or scared. And that I’m incredibly proud of her at the end of each day. That I think she’s simply the best.
I sunk into that chair a little more and decided to get cozy with her. My mind wandered to everything she’s done this year. I guess they say the first year is the most incredible with the growth, and the developments, and the milestones – but I don’t know. I’ve been blown away by Leah this year. She started communicating with us – like two way conversations communicating. She can state her needs and pains. She can answer questions and do chores. She is the best somersault-er in her gymnastics class, there, I said it. She learned to sound like an elephant, snap like an alligator, and neigh like a horse. She became athletic and physical and coordinated. She learned how to initiate playing with kids. She picks out letters of the alphabet, colors, and numbers. She is just consumed with learning. And lest we forget, she potty trained herself three months ago.
She’s just had a rockstar of a year. And yet, she was still so small in that chair with me. Somehow it seemed like she still fit like she did two years ago (even with a Quinn between us), reminding me that however big she seems, she’s not done growing. She’s still just two. She’s far from done learning. There will be lots more to teach, and lots more to correct. A few more fits to get through, overtireds to rock through, and books to read through. She’s not finished throwing food, shredding toilet paper, emptying drawers just to empty them, or fake driving the car. She’s not finished running around the house naked, running around the yard naked, or chasing Duncan naked. She’s not finished giggling at silly faces and sounds, spinning until she falls over, or dancing in her underwear. She’s big, but she’s still little. She’s finished being one, but she’s certainly not finished being little. And she’s undoubtedly not finished impressing the pants off her mother.
When the rocking session was over, I laid her in her Pooh bed and crept out the door. I waited for her to fall the rest of the way asleep and walked back down to party madness. Except I didn’t accomplish one thing on my to-do list. I sat on the couch and relished in the fact that I got to rock my big, little girl to sleep. That she gets to turn another year older. That she is happy and healthy and strong and perfect.
We are lucky parents to have that kid and to watch all the funny little things she does. And we are excited to see what this third year might hold for her.
Happy Birthday for a final time this year, Leah.
Mama loves you.