To my girl, Molly Johannah, on her second birthday:
I saw you today, lying face to face with the cat, and noticed that you have the body of a little girl now. You are long and lean and your blond curls reach to your shoulders. But then you turned to smile at me and I saw your chubby face and your blue eyes and you were my baby again, just like that.
You'll always be my baby girl.
The night you were born I could not have imagined how much I would love you. Loving you has always been easy. No matter how many walls you write on, or times stare me down boldly when I call to you, or wild slaps you throw to your sister while yelling "DO THAT!" instead of the correct "Don't do that!," I have to stifle smiles because I find everything you do delicious. It's hard to get mad at you and impossible to stay mad at you. One look at your mop of riotous curls and every knot of frustration comes untied.
You have grown fiercely independent and opinionated in the last few months. When we put your coat on, you wrench away the zipper and yell "I do it!" and run to a corner to wrestle with it until you, indeed, do it yourself. You think you are capable of anything. I find you standing on the counter, trying to help yourself to another serving of your gummy vitamins. You insist on flossing your own teeth. You want to pour your own milk, wash your own hands, buckle your own car seat, put on your own shoes.
But you are also tender and loving. It is pure joy to walk into a room and catch your eye. You will smile, stop what you are doing and come hurtling across the room at ninety miles an hour to launch yourself in our arms. You are troubled when Frankie is upset. "Wrong? Crying?," you'll query. Even when Frankie hurts you and is forced to apologize, your tender heart gets confused and you'll interrupt her amends, your eyes squinting with regret, and cup her under the chin, tilting her face to yours so you can croon "Torry, Fankie" and lay your head on her chest, arms tight around her waist.
I love listening to you talk. You have a delightful habit of replacing an S with a T, so you talk about the moon and the "tun," you're curious what made that "tound," your cousin is "Tylvie," and you want to "Eat tumting." You no longer call me Mama, but Mommy. If you need my attention, you say "Mommy? (small pause) Mommy? (small pause) MOMMY! (sudden authoritative shout)." You also copy the little vocal nuances of adults. When confronted with a puzzle piece that doesn't fit, I'll hear you mutter "Huh" in a surprised tone. At the first bite of a piece of pizza, you let out a short "Mmm" and nod to yourself with pleasure. If I tell you we can't watch your beloved Jay Jay, your faces screws up in disappointment and you'll let out a long, undulating "Aaaaawwwww." Sometimes when we are riding in the car, and your patience is at an end, you start moaning requests: "Popppppp. Eeeeatttt. I' creammmm. Peeezzaaa. Tuckerrrrrr. Treeeeeeatttt. Poppppicle."
It is a joy to my heart to watch you and sister grow to enjoy each other more and more. Frankie will go tearing through the house yelling "Molly, come on!" and you will come flying on her heels shouting "Comin'!." She tries to teach things to you gently. "Molly, can you say Cookie Monster? He's on your diaper, isn't he? Isn't he, Molly?." "Yah!!," you reply, "Mahyee's diaper!." "Molly, do you want me to step on Cookie Monster?." "MMM-HMMM!," you enthuse. Much uproarious laughter ensues. I hope you will love each other the way your Aunt Molly and I love each other.
Your dad and I are so proud to be your parents. Our eyes constantly meet above your little blond head and I know we are both thinking that we are so blessed to have you we can hardly stand it.
I love you, Molly. I love every single thing about you. I am so grateful that God gave me the incredible privilege of being your mother, the monumental and wonderful task of raising you to be a woman who loves Him.
You are my beloved baby girl.