When I used to keep a personal blog, I published a series I called “Letters to Neve”. It started when I wrote a letter to our “future bebe”, before she had even been conceived, when we had decided to pull the goalie so to speak.
I continued writing letters to our “gender-neutral” bebe throughout my pregnancy, then monthly throughout the first year of her life. Between the hundreds (thousands) of photos I take of her and the baby book I regularly update, I decided I wanted to keep the letters going on a yearly basis. My plan is to eventually compile them all in a book to give her when she’s older. Since this “mama journal” has sort of replaced my personal blog, I decided to continue publishing these yearly letters in this space.
This morning when I woke up, you had somehow made it into our bed (again), and were safely snuggled in your papa’s arms. We serenaded you with a lively (though groggy) rendition of “bonne fete” and gave you lots of kisses. We’ve tried to explain that you turn 2 today, but I don’t think you fully understand what’s happening. I, on the other hand, have been so keenly aware lately of how quickly and beautifully you are growing up.
I’ve been crying on and off this morning. I reread your birth story, and then watched this little video a thousand times. We did our regular morning thing – coffee for me, water for you. Bananas for both of us. Sandbox. Sidewalk chalk. Bare feet in the grass. Sand in your hair (you’ve got some, now… and it’s adorable). Giggles and hugs and power struggles and sillies and lots of “non aide maman, Neve fait toute seule”. But somehow everything feels a little more grown up today. Because you’re 2. You’re not a baby, though you’ll always be my baby. You’re a two-year-old. A kid. A messy, hilarious, affectionate, intelligent, curious, stubborn, independent kid. And you’re amazing.
You have an incredible grasp of both French and English, and you love to proudly exclaim “N-E-V-E!” when you see your name in print. Letters, numbers, shapes, colours… you soak it all in like a sponge. You are a smart, alert, brilliant child. And I’m not just saying that because you’re mine. Your love of learning and exploring is a beautiful thing to watch, and I am always blown away by the sharpness of your mind and your enthusiasm for life. I love being able to have conversations with you. I love it that you make up jokes to make us laugh. I love your caring, affectionate spirit. Whether you’re loving on your dolls, your friends or your dog, you have a nurturing heart. You’re also a little monkey. Jumping, running, skipping, climbing, there are no limits. You are brave, a (calculated) risk taker on your own terms and at your own pace. You are strong, independent and determined. Sometimes this leads to tantrums and power struggles and all that fun toddler stuff. But these are qualities that I am thankful you have, because as you grow up, they will help you navigate this big, wild, often difficult world of ours.
I love spending my days with you, sweet girl. I love kissing those smushy cheeks and playing in your little blonde wisps. I love the way you always invite me to share in your snacks and activities, the way you crawl into my lap while I’m working and give me kisses and look at me with those giant blue eyes and say “hi maman!” with that smile of yours. I love your love of music and books and art and the great outdoors. I love watching you dance in the car and hearing you sing to yourself while you go about your day. I love it that you have inside jokes with your papa and that you won’t go to sleep without saying a bedtime prayer to thank God for all the people in your life. I love it that you simply must jump in every puddle you see, and that it never gets old. I love you when you spin in your prettiest dress and pretend to brush your hair in the mirror. I love you when your feet are dirty and your fingers are sticky and your hair is crazy and you come flying through the room like a loud, wild whirlwind. I love you when you’re sound asleep, curled up in your big bed, uncovered because you’ve kicked off your blankets, lips in a perfect little pout that I just can’t help but kiss, even if I risk waking you. I just love everything about you.
Sometimes, when I’m feeling overwhelmed with work and chores and all the other responsibilities that can make life hectic at times, I think about how productive I was before you came along. Everything is slower now, messier, more complicated, more expensive. But at the same time, everything is more beautiful, more exciting, more meaningful, more memorable, more blessed. I can’t imagine life without you. You have my whole heart, and I am crazy about you.
When you were still in my belly, your Grandmaman told me that children are like a gift that you unwrap a little bit more each day. And she was so right. Every day with you is a gift, and I look forward to unwrapping a little more of it everyday as you continue to grow.
Always know that I love you, more than anything, forever and ever. Je t’aime ma puce.