To my precious Snow Pea on her 2nd Birthday:
I can't believe that we just celebrated your 2nd birthday. It seems like such a short time ago that you came into my life and made it brighter with your laugh. You have grown so much and developed so many wonderful new abilities in these two years, but it is your ability to laugh easily, effortlessly and with sheer joy that is the most heart-warming, infectious and beautiful. Not a single day has passed this year in which I have not had the honor and privilege of hearing the music of your laughter. Even on those days you behave like a "terrible" toddler- tantruming, whining, pouting or crying uncontrollably for no other reason than you want to cry- you still find reasons to laugh, loudly and with utter abandon.
In your second year of life you have become less of a baby and more of a child, and what a truly happy and loving child you are. You show concern when anyone around you expresses sadness or pain. You are always quick to ask if I am ok when I cough and to bless me when I sneeze. And once you are sure there is nothing serious to worry about, you are right back to laughing and doing your best to spread that laughter with a silly dance, a tickle fight or just a plain old squeal of delight. You do that squeal a lot actually, it's kind of your trademark, you're very well known for it. You don't even need a big reason- your friend is in the stroller next to yours, you successfully put your plate into the dishwasher, you are in the middle of singing a song you really like, Daddy is lying in the middle of the living room floor- any little happy moment is cause for BIG celebration.
As you turn two, it is clear that you have many emerging talents and I know you will continue to acquire new skills, interests and abilities as you grow. I will be there to encourage that growth and help you develop your talents but it is your effortless ability to find daily joy, to laugh loudly and often, that I hope with all of my heart never changes as you age. I hope that each day continues to bring you reasons to laugh, to smile and to squeal with delight and if the day does not give them to you, I hope you continue to find them yourself as you do right now.
There was a time that I feared I may have lost my ability to be joyful the way you are now. I was hurting and broken and I felt that I may have lost a part of me that I might never get back. In many ways, I think I was right. I have lost, I have changed. But thanks to you, your presence in my life, my life as your mommy, I have found parts of me that I thought were gone and even created some new ones too. The very thought of you is enough to bring a smile to my face and your daddy and I have yet to have a night pass after you're asleep when we don't recount the amazing, charming and hilarious things you said and did that day. You are our joy baby girl, just as the entire world is yours. Thank you for two incredible years of loving and laughing. I look forward to countless more giggles, squeals and smiles with you in the years to come. Happy Birthday.