At seventeen months........
You adore your puppy dogs and shriek and giggle at all the funny things they do. You know that we have to let them out the minute we get in from the garage and that they must go in their kennels before we leave the house. Much to their chagrin you give them big hugs around their bellies and are having a hard time learning the difference between a sweet puppy dog pat and a fierce toddler hit.
You cook in your kitchen, cuddle your stuffed animals and push your babies around in a stroller. You jump on the trampoline at gymnastics but also know when it's time to join the group for circle time. When things get quiet in the playroom, I usually find you sitting among your books, carefully flipping through one and then another, all the while humming a sweet tune and wiggling your feet.
You babble on and on excitedly, peppering in only a few words that your daddy and I can understand. But soon enough you will be able to share all the ideas and observations floating around in your brain. You understand so much and probably far more than I even suspect.
Your blue eyes sparkle like your daddy's but you crinkle your nose with glee just like me. I can see my grandma's curiosity reflected in the intense manner in which you study the world; desperate to understand, to connect and to join. You have an innate love of water, dogs and reading that links generations of women, from me to my mother, my grandma and beyond. You display such friendliness to everyone you meet, a trait that I find baffling, disarming and sometimes frustrating. Your momma is, by nature, a bit more reserved. You freely dole out hugs and kisses to me and your daddy...now without any cajoling on our part, you're just happy to show your love.
Your favorite thing to pull off my bookshelf is the baby journal I've kept for you. While I'm getting ready for the day, you'll toddle over to the shelf, pluck out the lime green book and settle yourself down, happily naming all your people in the photographs. Every time you do this it makes me smile. I always knew exactly where my mother kept my baby book and even as a young child I enjoyed quietly examining each and every page which was meticulously filled with information about my infancy and childhood. For me, that book was a physical representation of the love my mother has for me. The fact that she took the time to not only notice but to record all the minute details of my life resonated with me......so much in fact that I have kept track of all your teeth that have come in, the moments when you began sitting up, crawling, walking and smiling. I want your book to be a reflection of the love I have for you.
Because little girl, I do love you fiercely, wholly and eternally.
I love your long legs, now splattered with the tell tale signs of true toddlerhood - faint yellow bruises cover your knees and shins, sometimes accompanied by a red little scrape.
I love the blond that shines in your hair when you are in the sun and I love how I can see the same color when I look at your daddy.
I soak up your strong little body while covering it in kisses and pats, knowing that someday I will not be able to kiss your sweet baby belly.
I love that last sigh you make before drifting off to sleep, letting me know that it's safe to put you in your bed.
I don't have any dreams for you my daughter. I have prayers that you will become a strong, independent, compassionate and content woman. I have prayers that God gives me the wisdom and courage to guide you along the path of your life. I have prayers for your safety, your integrity and the people who would wish to take those away from you.
But dreams? Nope. Those are all yours. I don't want to put my dreams onto you my darling. I want dreams to be all for you. Your future. Your hopes. Your desires. I don't want you to live for what I think you should be because I have a feeling what you will come up with will be far more interesting and entertaining.