Tomorrow marks my son’s second birthday, and with each passing hour, I’m becoming more emotional. It all started with our “tickle fest” before his bedtime. We were tucked up in my king-size bed, and as I held his hands and tickled under his arms (a move that has him screaming with laughter and shouting, “One more time!”), I looked at him and saw a two-year old. With his pretty hazel eyes, neat white teeth and pointy, mischievous chin, he doesn’t resemble “my baby” anymore. In fact, the last lingering traces of baby are gone…
Our bedtime routine had me rocking him in his chair, and before you knew it, I’d rocked into reminiscing. Beside his chair is a photo of us on the day he was born. I looked at the photo and then looked at my son: The only resemblance to the newborn he once was is the handsome cleft still distinguished in his chin. The rest of him has been shaped into the unique, toddler I know and love today.
And what a toddler he has become: A tender-hearted, happy, sometimes stubborn bundle of energy who loves Thomas the Steam Engine, is crazy about berries of any kind and believes every day should begin with the greeting, “Good morning! How was your nap?” Gone is the “test-the-waters-first” baby he once was…Here is the “jump-right-in” little dude eager to engage others in play. Quite simply, he is my “pride-and-joy.” And while I sometimes find his behavior frustrating, I am always delighted by him. He’s a “glass-half-full” kind of guy, a “live-life-to-the-fullest” type of person. He’s not afraid to tell his family and friends “I love you” and he’s the first to ask “Are you ok?” when someone falls down (even if he’s the one who pushed them). He’s my role model; the person who’s taught me the most about living joyfully.
I’ve always been proud of my son. You can see it in the photo of us by his rocking chair. When I look at that photo, I see my eyes first…they are knowing. They speak to me as if saying “Hello New Mother. This is the beginning of a wonderful yet dreadful journey with the highest-highs and the lowest-lows, where every second, minute, hour will show you the depths of intense, terrifying love and you will never be the same.” My expression in that photo is one of pride, exhaustion, and overwhelming love, and I still feel those things, only ten-fold, for he is a li’l man who is both exhausting and lovable at once. And always, always, whether he’s a newborn baby or a full-blown toddler, he is a son I am proud of.