On Friday, almost as if out of nowhere, your second birthday arrived. We started practicing "How old are you?" a few weeks in advance to prep you for the inevitable inquiries that would come following your birthday. The night before we sang "Happy Birthday" to you a couple of times, to get you in the mood. But you know what? We could have skipped all of that. Because all you are going to need in this life is that smile. And that free-flowing, hearty laugh that comes from deep down in your belly that we waited so patiently to hear, after a year of being so very stingy with your giggles.
You, my beautiful girl, are so full of life, so carefree and yet intense all at the same time. You dance, hop, and run from one place to the next. We just thought Abby was going to be our most energetic child. You had a great mentor, but I think you have now become the master. You can concentrate with the intensity of an air traffic controller, something you no doubt inherited from your big brother. And, somehow, the combination works for you. You are all so unique. All so typical of yourselves.
You are so tender, always rocking your babies with a "shhh", consoling Abby when she injures herself on a multi-daily basis, and patting your friends at the church nursery on the back when they miss their mommies. You have a nurturing spirit, and I have never seen a little girl give such strong hugs and juicy kisses more freely than you.
You start dancing at the first sound of music, whether its on tv, the radio, or the kitchen timer. You really get into it. You don't just dance, you bounce and jig. It's inspiring. We should all be so joyful in spirit. You have taught me so much, little one.
You lack for nothing, except maybe trepidation or fear. And even that's because you have such a huge sense of adventure. You don't get nervous at the tip-top of playgrounds or on the edge of piers or when running at top speed across the asphalt. I wouldn't call you accident prone, only fearless and wide-open. You've taught me that moms can never be too careful, but at the same time I just can't stop you from hurting yourself and learning from it. Though, the "learning from it" part seems slow in coming. I'm waiting (not so) patiently. I caught a glimpse of fear when we went to the elementary school playground a few weeks ago and you slipped at the top of the ladder. You hesitated and said, "Boo boo! Fall." It's either because you remember your accident that resulted in stitches or because I have warned you with that very phrase countless times. No matter, the next day you were back to your usual tricks, disregarding the consequences to your body.
We can always count on you to take attendance. Whether it's just the five of us at home, or whether we have company, your first thought in the morning is "Where's _(whomever is out of sight at that particular moment)_?" You can be counted on for more than just roll call, however. You are the foremost identifier of ownership in our house. Walking from room to room, you identify the owner of every single item, almost constantly. "Mommy's coffee. Abby's baby. Ben's book. Daddy's shoes. Abby's shoes. Ben's shoes. Mommy's shoes." Oh, by the way, you love shoes. And you will try them on, no matter the size, and continue your dance/hop/run to the next location. Among your favorites right now are Abby's soccer cleats. You also love books. Though you have enough energy to power a small city in that little body of yours, if you have a stack of books and a comfy lap to sit in, you'll stay still for hours, just devouring the pages over and over again.
You are filled with wonder. "Mommy, wook!" Whether it's to draw my attention to your incessant spinning (you love to make yourself dizzy and fall down), the fact that you stole the laser pointer from Ben's room and are spastically displaying it on the ceiling, or you see a puppy out the front window. There is nothing that doesn't amaze you. We should all see the word through those bright eyes of yours.
Last but definitely not least, your grin and eyes show the tiniest bit of mischief. Okay, maybe a lot of mischief. How someone can be so cute, cuddly, and just mischievous all at the same time seems like a mystery, but I need only to look at you and see that it's not just possible, but perfect.
I don't know what the future holds for you, but I know just from your first two years, that though you have just one tiny little heart, you have a world of love to give. Please don't lose that inherent joy you bring with you wherever you go. You are one precious, little girl. I am so grateful God entrusted you to Daddy and me.
Happy Birthday, Beautiful Princess!