Oh my Lucy Goose. It seems like I blinked and you’re already almost two. Last year at this time, you were barely crawling and now I have to beg you to slow down as you tear through the aisles of Target. You love Target just like I do.
Last year at this time, I was also so sad to say goodbye to your days as an infant. But right now, I am excited. Every day gives me glimpses into your personality and I fall more and more in love with you. You love sprinkles and eat the yogurt coating off of raisins. You could watch Frozen on repeat and your favorite Beauty and the Beast character is The Beast. That Beast doesn’t scare you a bit — you roar right back at him.
You love shoes and hair bows and beg me to draw a heart on your hand with a marker every day. You hate when daddy or bubba are gone — you are most happy when we are all together. You love sitting on laps and reading books and going down the slide. But not the swings. You will not be persuaded just yet.
You are probably the most loving person I have ever seen. You love animals and babies, always stopping for a pet or a hug or a kiss. You always follow it up with an “Awwwww…” and a glance around the room to see who noticed your adorable behavior. I don’t blame you a bit. Soak it up, girl. Your days as an adorable toddler are too fleeting.
You never mind naps or bedtime and sleep with at least 20 ” babies”. I’ve tried sneaking babies out of your crib, but you always notice and ask for them back, greeting them with a huge hug and a kiss when I return them to the crib. Piglet is your favorite, but every one of those babies has a special place in your heart. I don’t know how you keep up with them all.
This next year will have so many changes in store for you. You’ll start to talk in sentences and potty train. You’ll learn more about what you like and don’t like and I have no doubt that we will engage in many a battle of the wills. But no matter how long the days are and how frustrated we get with each other, I want you to know that every day I pray that I can be the kind of woman that you’ll grow up and want as your best friend.
You and Jon David were both perfectly made for me. This I know 100%. On the days I feel neglected or unloved, on the days I wonder if God is disappointed in me, I look at the faces of you and Jon David and know that he loves me more than I can ever imagine. He gave me the two greatest gifts of my life. If I fail at everything I ever attempt but raise you both to be good and loving people, I will consider my time here on earth a success. I can’t tell you how much peace that gives me.
Jon David made me grow up and care more about myself. He was my reason for staying in the difficult, early years of my relationship with your dad. He was the reason I learned to take better care of myself, and find hobbies and interests and things that I loved. I wanted to be a good mom for him, and for that, I needed to learn to make myself happy. Jon David taught me that what I wanted to be more than anything else in life was to be a mom.
You, my Goose, have made me want to be a better woman. Because I want so badly to be who I want YOU to be. I want to be someone you look up to and whose opinion you value. I want to be a soft place for you to land. And more than anything, I want to teach you these things:
Be kind. Always, always be kind. Mean girls aren’t cute, and they grow up to be mean women, which usually means severe haircuts, a perpetual “unhappy” facial expression, and all around misery. Also, hatefulness is probably bad for your skin. I have no scientific proof of this, but it seems like it should be true.
Wear clothes that fit. I don’t care if that means wearing a size way bigger than what you think society likes. Wearing a smaller size doesn’t actually make you that size. There is nothing more beautiful than a girl that dresses for who she is and not who she thinks everyone else wants her to be.
Playing stupid isn’t cute. One day you will meet a man who, instead of being threatened by your wit and intelligence, is challenged and intrigued. And only then will you know that you’ve met someone worthy of CONSIDERING a date with.
Maintain a relationship with God. Even when (yes WHEN) you find yourself caught up in behaviors he won’t approve of. Even when (yes WHEN) you might falter in church attendance or proper prayer. Because, love, one day you will find yourself faced with problems that are too big for your dad or I to fix. And in that time, you’ll need God to lean on. Make sure you always stay close enough to Him to be comfortable doing that.
Be a good friend. Women need each other, and a girl who can be trusted and uplifting and loyal is hard to find. Be that girl.
Love your body. Understand that it belongs to you. Understand that no one is entitled to one bit of it — no matter WHAT they’ve done for you or how far you’ve let things get in a relationship. You, my darling baby, are a treasure. So please don’t trust that treasure in the hands of someone you wouldn’t even trust with your iPod or sunglasses.
There will be times that you disagree with your dad and I. Over the years we will disappoint you, frustrate you, make tough decisions for you, and probably make a few mistakes. You are welcome to disagree, but don’t ever treat us with disrespect. How a person treats others in times of frustration or adversity says a lot about their character. And also, no one responsible for 4 stitches in my nether region is allowed to sass me EVER, so help me God.
See the value in acquiring skills. I don’t care if those skills are changing car oil, fixing computers, decorating cakes, knitting scarves, solving complicated math equations or being a kick butt make-up artist. There is SO much satisfaction that comes from completing tasks and finding things that you are good at. And women with hobbies and talents are incredibly interesting.
If a boy takes you on a date and you want the chili dog, DO NOT ORDER THE SALAD. Free meals are too few and far between to be wasted on lettuce. And if he’s NOT paying for the meal, I’m going to assume that as a strong woman who knows what she wants, You asked HIM out. In which case, order the chili dog and pay for his, too.
Know that I will never, ever, stop loving you. I will never stop cheering for you. And I will never stop hoping that you pick me as your very best friend.
I love you, baby girl, and I am SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS YEAR!!!