"Anna, how old are you?"
"I two!" (insert big, proud grin).
Anna turned 2 last week. Two. 2. Two years old. Two years takes on such a different meaning when its attached to a child's years in this world. My child. My beautiful, awesome, energetic, loving, adorable, spunky, silly, sweet, child. My child, who has magically morphed in front of my eyes from a helpless, tiny little baby to this amazing human being. In only two little years. Goodness gracious I've gotten emotional over this milestone.
New born...1st Birthday...2nd Birthday...oh how's she grown!
I still call her my "tiny itty bitty little baby", even though I know she is a toddler, a child. But, somewhere in my mind, she will always be my itty bitty. To watch her grow over the past two years has been the biggest joy in my life. My heart swells with a kind of love, tenderness and pride I find a bit incomprehensible. How is it possible for one little being to so completely turn my world and my heart inside out?
Mace and I were talking on Anna's birthday about the day we brought her home from the hospital, and how surreal it all felt. Life was suddenly...different. Different in a body-slam-you-into-this-experience kind of way. I don't know how anyone can truly be prepared for that experience...those first few confusing days home from the hospital...the disbelief that they actually let us take this baby home with us...that she is ours to love and hold...those sleepless, hazy, endless nights. I am not sure how we made it through. Well, actually yes I do, lots of family and friends and love...and of course, each other. But, the point I'm trying to make is that we found a "new normal" after welcoming Anna into our world. A new normal, that has been the most amazing normal ever. She's nestled herself so snugly into our lives and hearts that I truly feel like she has been with us forever. I have memories long before she was born, that I have to remind myself that she was not a part of. She is the most beautiful extension of Mace and me that I can possibly imagine.
This 2-year milestone has shaken me emotionally in a way that nothing in her life has so far. Its made me realize that she's not a baby anymore, that she is actually growing up. I am realizing I won't forever be able to swing her up onto my hip and dance around the living room. She won't forever straddle my lap with her head in the crook of my neck and say bedtime prayers. She won't forever light up when I enter the room and run to me with outstretched arms, my favorite gleeful chant on her lips "Momma! Momma!".
But, I remind myself, there will be other awesomenesses to replace the ache of missing my baby on my hip, in my arms, around my neck. There will be many more times when she'll dance with me, but holding my hands and flying wildly in a circle using her own two feet. I'll lay snug next to her on her bed while we say bed time prayers. And hopefully, there will always be a little light there when she sees me enter the room. There will be new interactions, new conversations, new experiences. Every day, every new stage and age has been my favorite so far. I have faith that instead of mourning the passing of her babyhood, that I will continue to rejoice in each new day, each new milestone, each new age and stage and that everyday will continue to be my favorite new day with her.
Happy 2nd Birthday my sweet, sweet Anna. I'm so looking forward to watching you grow into this beautiful life of yours.
P.S. I'll be back soon with some fun Sesame Street party food ideas! Anna is still talking about her Elmo "cake-cakes".