...To my Bean,
Sunday is your second birthday. It’s trite, of course, to say that these past two years have flown by quickly, that you’re growing up so fast. To say that it feels like just a heartbeat ago that I lay down in bed with you still nestled in my belly, breathing with my lungs.
The night before you were born I felt you try to turn. You got your little body transverse, which must not have been an easy feat in that crowded little womb. After a minute you settled back into position (little did I know your feet were pointing down). I like to think that you knew that your birth was approaching, and that you tried your best to get into the right position.
Labor was like white noise, like static, isolating you and I. The doctors around us, talking to each other, talking to me, but they were miles away. It was just you and me, sweet girl.
Later in our room, as I nursed you for the very first time, daddy played a CD for us, Iron and Wine. When I listen to that album now, joy still balls up hard in my throat.
I still have an image of you, in our first days home, napping with your daddy on his bare chest. He’s asleep, you’re swaddled but you’ve slipped your thumb into your mouth, and my entire world is there resting in cotton sheets and new pillows, grey filtered sunlight and the smell of too much sleep.
Every night before I go to bed, I sneak into your room alone. I pet your damp curls and stroke your cheek. I slip a finger into your palm and you close your fingers around mine. I stay just a minute and tell you that I love you. Sometimes you sigh and my heartbeat responds, a perfect harmonic.
Last night after dinner we settled down for story time on the couch. This is my favorite time of every single day. You snuggle into my lap, thumb in your mouth, rest your head on my shoulder. It’s one of the few times each day when I still get to hold you. I kiss the back of your sweet little neck, or bury my face in your soft fine hair.
When we read stories now, you often show your little stuffed animals or dolls the pictures. “Look Froggy,” you say, pushing your frog’s face into the page. Sometimes you “read” the books to us. I love to see how much you know and understand, to see you discern patterns in the prose. You love rhythm and music, and are lulled by the cadence of my voice as it rushes over the words.
You’re singing, always singing. Songs I don’t even know. You make up your own words to songs sometimes, telling us what you see or wish to do. You ask us to sing to you too, and sometimes ask “Mama and Dada and Bean sing all together?”
You’re growing quickly, my sweet, precocious, mercurial little girl. But no matter how much you grow, how strong and independent you become, you and I will always be connected. You will always be mine.
Happy birthday, sweet baby. Happy birthday.