Genevieve my love,
This year has been so different from last, probably because you are a toddler now and you have discovered so many ways to assert your independence. You find new ways every day to let us know that you are not a baby anymore, no matter what Mama and Daddy think. You’ve started to call me “Mom” instead of “mommy” or “mama”, and I know you got it from your big sisters whom you love to emulate, but it makes my heart a little sad. You want to be a big girl so much, and Daddy and I want you to stay our little girl forever.
But you’re not the baby anymore–you are in the thralls of toddlerhood. The tantrums, my dear, while often difficult, are also hilarious. The other day you screamed for a solid ten minutes because I wouldn’t let you wear your swimsuit as your outfit of the day. And sometimes the tears are really from sadness–just this morning you cried buckets because Daddy left for work, and you stood at the window crying and shouting “My Daddy!” Then we had to drop off sissies at school, and that was traumatic too, I know. You love your family, and I’m so glad. Sometimes I wish you loved to copy your sisters a little bit less, but then you ask them to sit by you to watch a movie and you put your head on their shoulders or pat their backs or hold their hands and my heart can’t take it.
You love hard, little girl. I hope you always do. It will bring you heartache, I’m sure, because everyone I know who loves hard also hurts hard. But a life filled with love is so much better than a life void of it. The way you love fills up my heart. You give hugs and kisses freely and even unprompted on occasion. Every day I think I can’t love you any more, and yet every day I seem to find something new to love about you.
You are so joyful. You delight in small things. Currently you are fascinated by rocks and sticks and flowers and leaves; you could pick up all the sticks from the yard and be excited about every single one. You show them to me, all your little treasures, and though I struggle to be as excited about the 27th rock as you are, I smile at your delight. It does not take much to make you happy, and I pray that you continue to value the small things in life–that you notice flowers and butterflies and bubbles and dandelions as something special all your life, for you will always be rich if small things make you happy.
You take on life full throttle right now. You are fearless, even though I wish sometimes you proceeded with more caution. You have scraped knees and cut fingers to show for it, banged up shins and a bruised head on occasion. You have one speed–running. You run after life with passion. You love to be chased and to chase. You love to laugh and squeal, and your laugh is hearty and breathless, truly full of exuberance. You love to sing at full volume, over the rest of us, singing those ABCs regardless of what other music might be playing or what other conversation might be going on. Daddy has always said that your life motto is “I do what I want,” and this is absolutely true right now. Just know, lovey, that when you don’t get to do what you want, it’s because your dad and I want you to grow up knowing what is true and good and pure. We want the world for you, and we hope the world will continue to be kind to you.
Every day you do something that surprises me, something that I didn’t know you could do. Sometimes these surprises are less than fun, like finding out at 6:00 a.m. that you can turn your doorknob and open your bedroom door. But you continually remind me that you are growing up and learning to do things on your own and in your own way. You have grown up so much in this past year, and I can hardly remember you as a baby because I am so consumed with you as a toddler. I can’t wait to see what you learn and how you grow this year.
Know that even when I’m frustrated with you, I love you with my whole heart. You are beautiful and smart and funny and loving. You are everything I hoped you would be and more than I could ever have anticipated. You will always have my love, no matter where you go or how you grow.
I love you. Always.