Dear Brianna,

Has it really been two years since we met? Seems like just yesterday when you were “.5”, your name a secret from everyone but me and and your daddy. Like just last night that I couldn’t find a comfortable position to sleep, had seemingly unbearable heartburn and got up every 30 minutes to use the bathroom. And wasn’t it just an hour ago that I first held you in my arms and said hello and kissed your face for the first time?

But, in fact, just yesterday you were asking to use the potty, just last night you slept through the night–at Mima and Poppy’s–without needing your mommy once. and just an hour ago you were running up and down the aisles of the store, stepping up and jumping down and wanting to walk by yourself and help carry the food.

There’s no way I can relate an entire year in one letter. Every day brings a new memory that I swear I’ve burned into my mind, trying to grab on to every moment of your baby years that I can. As I look at you each morning, and lift you out of your bed for my eskimo kisses and squeezing hug, I see more evidence of the little girl you’re becoming. The fierce independence in wanting to do each thing for yourself–whether it’s walking down the stairs, climbing into a chair or feeding the fish. The loss of the baby fat folds, transforming into long legs and slimmer face, with the beauty of a toddler and the sweetness of a little girl. How you surprise us each day with new words we didn’t know you learned–and some we wished you hadn’t heard (your parents need to learn to watch their language). And that you’re less and less hesitant to move away from mommy and on to the next adventure.

For me, perhaps the most bittersweet times of this past year, of moving from the times of cuddling my baby to cuddling my toddler, was weaning and giving up breastfeeding. Never will anyone ever know how much I cherished those quiet times at in the middle of the night, when it was just the two of us and the soft happy sounds you’d make as you nursed. The sweet smell of your hair and the velvety skin of your cheek as I stroked it. And the feel of your hands kneading my chest and patting me gently, showing me you loved me. If there is anything I’m going to miss about the baby years, it will be those moments.

But at the same time, I adore what we’re seeing now. Each new learning experience and the fun things that make me laugh–like your penchant for wearing goofy hats and two different shoes. The sheer pleasure you get in seeing new things. The delighted “ooooohs” that come with the discovery of new toys, new sounds, new places. How you stop what you’re doing at random moments and come to give me love. Your amazing vocabulary, your ability to process the information and put it together–and remember it for next time. And how quick you are to learn–even if it is only the things you want to learn sometimes.

I predict, in the next year, that there will be a lot of frustration and tears (yours and mine), threats to visit the time-out spot–and actual visits–and times when I’d like to ship you to Egypt. But I also predict that in the next year, I’ll hug you closer, squeeze you tighter and hold you as long as you let me because you’re growing so fast from my baby, to my little girl, that some days I wish time would stand still.

Recently, I heard something that fit how I feel for you so perfectly. Your daddy and I might not have planned to have you, but you were no accident. You were the child we never knew we needed. But now that we have you, we surely don’t know how we spent our days without your bright smiles.

I thank God every day that he sent you to us and I hope someday you can read this letter and know that no parents were ever so blessed and no toddler was ever so loved.

I love you, baby girl. Happy 2nd Birthday. I can’t wait for our next year of adventure.

Love,

Your Mommy

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