Dear Sunshine Girl,
I can’t believe it’s been three whole years since we welcomed you into our world. Being your Mama is the most fun and challenging thing I’ve done with my life so far- and I am so grateful you choose Daddy and I to raise you. This year has been a big one for all of us; moving from the city to the suburbs, welcoming your little brother, making new friends, and starting school for the first time. Any of those things would be difficult for most adults, but at two, you showed both grace and courage as you seamlessly let go of one life for another. Even now when I think of all that the last 365 days have been, I hardly look at you as my two year old daughter. You sometimes feel more like my appendage/self/friend/sidekick- but this isn’t about me and my obsession with you- it’s about you turning three years old!
Some day you’ll have babies of your own, and you’ll ask me, was I like this? And someday I’ll be too old to remember all the little details that went into the complexity of you , and so for both of us here we go, your annual THIS IS YOU list.
YOU ARE SMART. I can not express this enough Sunny, you are SOOOOOOO SMART. You learn things in an instant. You ask millions of questions and not normal toddler questions, bigger questions, vocabulary questions, questions that 32 year old women don’t ask. You love books and learning. You can draw circles and squares and lines and letters. You spell your name out loud and can do puzzles quick as lightening- you are SOOOOOOO SMART. You’re many amazing things, but trust me when I tell you, being smart will take you everywhere. You can be anything you want in this entire world; being smart is like a passport my dear, you can choose the life you want to live when you are smart. As you grow older don’t ever make your big smarts small because you think it’s cute to be dumb. There’s nothing cute about pretending to be dumb. ( I’ll save that speech for your 13th birthday)
YOU ARE CREATIVE. This year we saw a budding songstress and singer come to life. You’ve always loved music, and memorized songs but now you make up your own songs too. I don’t know how you remember the beat and the exact wording- mostly because your songs are about whatever is happening around the house, but you do. You sing about Jude, your imaginary friends, friends at school, Christmas, the weather, what you had for dinner that day. You sing and sing and sing and sing- you sing your feelings, your life, your love, it’s adorable. The only time your teacher has ever asked us to speak with you, was when at nap time you would sing out loud on your mat instead of sleeping- it should be pointed out that she didn’t want to interrupt you because she thought it was cute. You use the stair landing in our home as your stage and you start every song with “A 1, 2, 3, 4… or Ba Ba Boom!” and when it’s over you will stop, look around and say “Did anybody clap?” And that’s our cue to clap.
YOU ARE SASSY. Dear Lord are you Miss Sassy Pants! I am willing to bet there isn’t another toddler on Earth more sassy then you. If I had to sum you up as a two year old in one repeated phrase it’s “NO SASSY TALK.” I must say that 100 times a day. It’s so hard for you to keep your sassin’ under control. You seem to believe that a little attitude and a big mouth are the way to the hearts of millions. I literally fear taking you to Target because you like to correct EVERYBODY. I drive you to school and say what’s the rule? You repeat “NO SASSY TALK.” and then when I pick you up you’ll jump into my arms and say “There was NO SASSY TALK with me today!!!!” It’s all you can do to hold it together for school and in public. Your poor friends get sassed up and down and sideways by you. I have had to learn that this is a major difference between you and me- you believe you are right in all instances. I use to think you’d be a dentist, now I think you’ll be the Secretary of State. (You could be President if you wanted too, but it seems too dangerous to me.)
YOU ARE CONFIDENT. This sort of goes with sassy, but my baby if I have given you one trait that I’m most proud of it’s how confident you are. I do hope you’ll learn how to place boundaries and draw lines in the sand when you shout out directions and commands while speaking with adults. But as your Aunty Erin always points out- self esteem is something you just can’t teach.
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. I won’t tell you this often, because it’s not a virtue that you should put much stock into, but you are beautiful ( even if you are mine.) Those ringlets and dimple in your chin will get you everywhere pure brilliance can not. If your Father would stop being such a dork and let you participate in pageants I’m certain your uncles and I could get you to the Grand Supreme Title quicker then Eden Wood honey. With all your sass- we could rock the pageant world. (Damn you Matt Willoughby)
YOU ARE LOVING. No one was more surprised then me to watch you love on your little brother. You have never, ever, once showed him anything but love and hugs and kisses and kindness. Your little brother is by far the single biggest recipient of your love- next to your Dad. I might have said this last year, but your love must be earned. You have never been the snuggling type, never the type to give a hug because the mood strikes you. You make people work for your love and attention, I like that about you. It makes those of us who love you and who you love feel more special. Your love is exclusive.
I don’t know what three is going to bring us. There are days Sunshine when you bring me to my knees with a certain type of pain only a Mother can know. I feel bad writing a bold headline that says YOU ARE DIFFICULT- but the truth is sometimes you are that too. Who you are is as perfect as God made you. Being smart and sassy and everything else I’ve listed is a gift that distinguishes you from the rest of the world, so I sometimes must remind myself that I am raising an individual, a leader, a woman. You’ll grow to be amazing, but “well behaved women never made history” and raising an amazing child is tough.
When you were very small I wondered if I would miss you as a newborn, then a baby, and so on- but the best part of being with you everyday is that I’m here for every single moment. The good, the bad, the sometimes ugly- and so I’ve lived all of these stages with you. I saw your first steps ( across the living room floor in Brooklyn), heard your first word (doggie), met your first friends, and cried the day you started nursery school.
The bitter and the sweet of parenthood is, there’s always a new “first” with you and then you must let go. None of this is getting easier, but I won’t miss you as a two year old because I lived it with you. I just want to say that I love you and I adore you and I still believe that you are the reason every Mama should want a little girl.
You are the manifestation of a dream I dreamed a long time ago- only you exceed every expectation. You who are bigger than the sun, brighter than the stars.