Today is the day Max turns TWO! And I can’t help but feel a major sense of accomplishment for meeting this milestone.
I know, I know. It’s HIS birthday, not mine.But being a mom makes birthdays different.
In many ways, it’s OUR day. It’s the anniversary of a BIG day, a day filled with emotion, a day I’ll never forget. His day. My day. The day our family came together (my mom, his parents, Chris, and I) and – so help us – delivered Max safe and sound.
I could list a thousand things I love about this little person. Each day truly feels like a gift with him. And I love that. And I am exercising all of my memory-keeping strategies to remember all of it. For birthdays, I think letters are best. Letters and a hundred photos. Maybe a small photo book. Maybe an album…
Max at 1 week, 1 year, and TWO!
You’re TWO! And I’m SO excited about it. When I asked dad what we should get for your birthday he said “nothing. he doesn’t even know what birthdays are” (typical dad thing to say). So I turned and asked you, “Max, what do we do on birthdays?” And you said “HAPPY TO!” (which translates to “sing happy birthday!”) and “OPEN PEAS!” (which translates to “OPEN PRESENTS!!”). Sometimes mom gets it right.
Life with you is SO much fun. Do you know how funny you are? You make jokes. Like when you build a car out of Legos, but put some blocks on the bottom of the car so the wheels don’t touch the table. And then you bring it to me and say “won’t go!” and pretend like you need my help. I know you don’t. And I know why you do it. And I laugh and love it Every. Single. Time. (which is about twice a day). But sometimes your jokes are even funnier – and strike deeper – than you can understand.
Just the other night, we read “Dinosaur, Roar!”, which is a book about opposites. When we got to the page about the fat dinosaur you pointed to his belly and said “mommy!”. I said “oh, NO, mommy is NOT fat!” and you laughed and said “mommy, fat! mommy, fat!” and pointed between the dinosaur belly and my belly to get the joke across. Dad and I laughed until we cried. And the next day I went to the gym and ran 3 miles, did 150 squat-jumps (which are hard), and exercised until my entire body hurt. But I’m really happy you did it. You have a way of inspiring me to push myself when I really need it.
Like that time, when you were only a few weeks old, and I – desperate to leave the house – took you on a walk. I was so happy to get out of the house (newborns and c-sections have a way of keeping you at home for weeks) that I lost track of time. About a mile from our house you started crying for milk. Every time I jogged, you stopped crying. Every time I took a break, you cried again. And so I ran through discomfort and exhaustion to get us home. Because that’s what moms do. And because hearing you cry tears a hole right through me. Not that you cry much these days.
You are a really tough kid. At first glance, this can seem like a good thing, because moms hate hearing their kids cry. But you NEVER cry. Never. Yesterday you fell 5 feet to the ground at the playground, “brushed it off” (that’s what we call it), and climbed up again. This would be remarkable for many kids, but for you – it’s just another day at the park. You climb everything. You run everywhere. Nothing is too difficult. You seek out challenges. You explore. You are dangerously adventurous. This scares the other parents who don’t know you. They run to your “rescue” when you’re in a precarious position. They “save” you when it looks like you’re going to “fall” (I put that in quotes because it seems like it’s all part of your plan).
For a while I worried that you couldn’t feel pain. Like your brain wasn’t wired correctly or something. But then the summer came, and you wore shorts, and you continued to run everywhere. And you fell, a lot. You skinned your knees. You got “boo boos” and showed them off to everyone. You stuck your fingers in them to make them bleed more. And if I was a different mom, and if you had a different dad, I would worry more. But I know me, and I know dad, and that’s how I know you’re okay. You might not show it, but you feel pain. And you learn from it. And that is awesome.
You are also a gentleman. This is a quality I sincerely admire in you. And something that dad is VERY proud of. When you were just 20 months old, we went to an indoor play place to get out of the house. Often when we go there, you find kids and insist on playing with them. They don’t always get it. Sometimes they fuss. Sometimes they complain. Sometimes they even push. One morning, you were SO intent on playing with this one little girl in the play kitchen, inside the play house. When you initiated play with her, she squealed. This surprised you. You looked right into her eyes with this hint of concern like “are you okay?” You tried to give her a hug. She resisted. You offered her a toy. She softened. You found a fabric FLOWER. She accepted. And you got that hug. And you played for a half hour. And I melted.
You are an expert hugger. This is a quality you get from your dad and your meme. When I first met meme, I was not a hugger. But after years of dating your dad, and years of “hello’s” and “goodbye’s” with your amazing grandparents, I eventually gave in. I am now a hugger. I hug friends even when they don’t expect it. And I hug you 300 times a day. Every time you leave a play space, you hug your friends goodbye. This is especially true with Emma, Tenzin (who you call “Teddy”), the daycare staff, and – of course – Salsabiel. Sometimes she even gets kisses. And, again, I melt.
I wish I could find a way to talk about the other 5,000 things that I love about you. Like our morning routines, waking up to your little feety pajama footsteps in our room, the way you are SO excited to see “MIMI!” every morning, then run away when she gets here, the way you say “MOMMY!” emphatically to get my attention, as if I have a hearing problem, or how you talk about “Daddy” and his motorcycle and how it “goes fast”, or how you insist on exercising the full limit of every boundary you are given (is this the line? am I over it now? how about now??), or how you love to ride your tricycle in the driveway, or how you want to do everything yourself – like putting on your pants and shoes, but then need my help, so I try to sneak in without you noticing.
I’m sure, years from now, there will be so many things that I will wish I did differently, but the one thing that I will never regret is having this time with you – every day – and the 300 hugs, and 100 kisses, and 10,000 moments we have had together this last year. I don’t regret a single moment. And I’m so excited to see who you will be this year. And every year.