One of the things I remember most from those first days and weeks and months is how much I held you. It seemed as if I never put you down. Out of necessity or first time mom possessiveness, I couldn’t say for sure, but you spent most of your time in my arms. It was hard and beautiful and comfortable and stifling and I recall those memories sometimes, when I’m trying to sleep or relax, and I can see your tiny fingers and toes and I can smell your smell and feel your downy hair, and it calms me. You WERE my baby, once upon a time in a land far, far away. Looking at you today, on your 2nd birthday, it seems impossible. But you were. I remember.
You tell me, “I luz you mama!”. You crawl into my lap and ask for big huggies, and if I don’t squeeze tight enough, you say bigger. BIGGER HUGGIES MAMA. Then you’re off, and my lap is empty again. I think you notice sometimes, maybe a certain thing my face does or the slightest watering of my eyes, and you come to me and you’re my baby again. But just for a moment, just enough to take the edge off. One of the biggest adjustments for me when you were born was how much you needed me. I’d never experienced that level of dependence. Now, I’m trying to adjust to how much you don’t need me. And how much I’m starting to realize I need you.
You still look just like your daddy, but oh boy, do you have my insides. You’re a yeller, in frustration and joy. You are quick to anger, but quicker to laughter. You crave independence and space, but need to know I am but an arms length away to be able to truly relax. You are so, so smart. I thought we’d have a few years before the “Whys” took up residence in our home, but alas, your curiosity is insatiable, and I spend the majority of our day explaining to you how every single thing in the world works. A simple “because I said so” just will not suffice, much to my and your fathers chagrin. You GET stuff, stuff that I don’t think an almost 2 year old should get, but then what the hell do I know. You’re shockingly girly, in a rough and tumble in a tutu and lipgloss kind of way. I am NOT, so this is new for us. You sing, made up songs and songs you hear on the radio and songs you hear me sing. And you dance. Oh baby girl, how you dance. With abandon and joy and pure, unadulterated madness. You dance like there is no one else in the room, even in a room full of people. I hope you never stop doing that. Hell, I hope we all START doing that. You’re not what I would call a “people person”. Like me and your dad, you’re wary of people you don’t know or don’t know well, and you play your cards pretty close to the vest in situations where you’re not 100% comfortable. But once you decide you like someone, they are beholden to you, forever and forever. I hope you never stop doing that, either.
My sweet, sweet girl. I cannot believe you’re already 2. I cannot believe you’re only 2. I feel like I’ve known you forever. And maybe I have. Maybe you’ve always been here, just waiting for your moment to join us and complete us and fix us. You made me so much more than a mom 2 years ago. In many ways, you made me whole. I have loved every single second of the last 2 years, the good and the bad and the horrible. And I am so, so, thankful to be yours. Happy, happy, happy birthday, my amazing Dylan Rose. My big girl, my little baby. I can’t put into words how very much I love you, but it is more than the moon and stars and the ocean and sand, times forever. Happy birthday, baby.
Now slow down.