Two years ago, I gave birth to a baby. I. Gave birth. To a baby. It was a miracle, it was incredible, it was a life changer. That 6 pound 15.5 ounce wiggly baby is now a slender, curly-headed two year old with energy to spare.
The first year flew by, it was a blur of emotion and milk, fatigue and diapers. But the second year went even faster. We settled into parenthood, we built routines, Mo became more independent, an active participant in our family. And the time just disappeared. Only yesterday we were celebrating her first birthday, and in a flash came spring, summer, fall and here we are again. She's two.
I've documented a lot about Mo here, but many of you have never met her. On her second birthday, let me tell you a little bit about what you'd notice about Mo if you ever did meet her.
The thing you'd notice first about, upon meeting her, is that she is happy. Children are often pretty carefree if we allow them to be, but they are also often easily bothered. They don't understand the world and its rules and that can be frustrating. Mo doesn't really care, she just loves life. She is not only content but happy in almost any situation. The other day we were at swim class with my sister and nephew. In the locker room, Mo got a little frustrated - no crying or screaming or yelling - just a little agitated because she wanted me to hold her, not put her down to get her dressed. I was frustrated with her because I was dripping and cold and just wanted cooperation. I mentioned it my sister later and said, "You just saw us at our worst!" and she thought it was pretty funny that that was Mo at her worst - such a minor blip in her otherwise constantly uplifting mood - but it really doesn't get worse than that. Not right now at least. She's just so easily happy.
She is all smiles and dancing and laughter.
The other thing you would notice is her love for people. When we sent invitations to family for her party this weekend, we mentioned that gifts were not necessary. Not only because she truly needs nothing, but because Mo's favorite gift is company. She loves to be around people, she loves a good party. When someone visits, she gives them her full attention, she crawls in their lap, shows them her drawings, offers them hugs. When lots of people visit, she buzzes around the room, bringing smiles to everyone. I am an introvert. I get energized from quiet, alone time. Mo is an extrovert. She is energized by the energy of others. She doesn't need to be the center of attention, she's not a showboater, but one of the first things people say about her is "she's so social." I think that is a gift to all of us.
You'd also notice Mo's armful of...things. She finds great joy in her stuffed animals, and has quite the collection that she loves more than any other toys. Right now she's latched on to four things in particular: Pump, the pink blanket she got at birth and took a liking to awhile ago; Foofoo or Puppy, the little scrap of a stuffed animal she got on her first birthday and has loved every since; Tot (or tat...cat), the grey kitten she received at Christmas; and now this odd, pink stuffed dog she found in the bottom of the stuffed animal pile the other day. I have no idea where that last one even came from. Every morning, as soon as we walk into her room, Mo scrambles to collect these items and struggles to keep a hold on all of them, and they all come downstairs with us. We used to try to keep them in her crib so they didn't get lost, but then she got sick and we let her keep her lovies, and we haven't attempted to break the habit. I love watching her toddle around the house with an arm full of these dirty scraps of fabric that she adores. When she gets hurt, she wants her mama and she wants her Pump. And her Foofoo. And usually her Tot and the dog, too.
You'd notice that she loves affection. There was a time she wasn't very cuddly, but now she loves a good cuddle. Shecrawls into my lap all the time to snuggle under a blanket with me. She'll frequently turn and give me hugs for no apparent reason other than she loves me and wants me to know. I cherish those hugs. She has still been having the occasional nightmare, and when I go to her and pick her up, she wraps herself around me and burrows in until she falls asleep again. And then I hold her quietly and breathe her in and thank everyone and everything that she's mine. I cherish those moments too.
You'd probably also notice how much she means to me. In my struggles following my recent miscarriage, I've come to appreciate what I have in Mo even more than I did before. My road to Mo was long and bumpy and painful, and when she was born, I knew how lucky I was. I've known that every day of her life. I didn't think I needed to learn that again, I don't know why this miscarriage happened, but it did reinforce the blessing I have in Mo. I was reminded that if she is all I'll ever have, that would be enough. She is more than enough.
My daughter is my love and my light. Before her, if I had read that sentence from another mother, my eyes would have slid right past it. Yeah yeah, mothers love their kids, we all know. But now I get it. She is a part of me, and I can't believe she's been in my life for two years. If you were to meet her, I'm confident you'd be glad she was part of yours, too.