Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Letter to my Daughter on her 2nd Birthday

Credit: Cynthia Hovind/Terre Dolce Photography
Cupcake with a lit

A heart-felt letter written to my daughter as she turns 2-years-old among the beauty and horror of our world.

Dear Sidney,

You just turned 2 and none of us can believe it. You are so much a little girl and so less a baby that I think we now believe all those sage parents who advised us to cherish every moment of your young life because it floats away. But I'll be honest, I love this age on you. Nothing gets by you and I'm sure you pick up a lot more of our adult conversations than you let on. Your vocabulary and ability to mimic sounds has exploded. I credit your father with his diligent (yet exhaustive) work with you on your annunciation. I am prone to correct you but let things go by because I figure you'll get it eventually and for one aspect of your upbringing, I will not be the hard-ass.

Ugh, there I go using adult language again. Speaking of which, your father is bound to throw some at me when he hears about this: while he was on his run today, I was flipping through some online photos about the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. (That will be something we'll explain to you later.) You were completely engrossed in a puzzle or something which is why I thought I could get away with looking at them. Suddenly I landed on a photo of a person falling from one of the towers. I must have made a noise because you looked over and immediately said, "That man outside building." Did I mention *nothing* gets by you? Yes, I am a bad mommy for even having those pictures in your eye-line. But I just said, "Yes and one day I'll tell you more about it." You seemed unfazed and returned to your puzzle. I realized right then that this parenting thing, as your cognition and understanding improves, is going to be such a balancing act. Because for all the brutality and horror in the world there is also beauty and light and magic. It's important to me that you gradually understand that all of it exists in the world.

You yourself are such a source of pure joy and delight. I know that you are only 2 but I can sense that you are funny, fearless and empathetic. I see how you have embraced going to family swim times with your Dad and by proxy overcome your fear of showering or being in a shower. You give your little friends hugs and ask about them when they are not around. Your infatuation with the orange sandcastle cup, yellow Crayola marker, plastic dinosaurs, plush monkey, Baby Paul doll, certain farm animal puzzle pieces and the story of Ping the Duck fascinates and frustrates us--especially when we can't find an item you NEED right that moment. But mostly the fact you're forming attachments to things and people let's us peek at your personality. The things we care about say a great deal about who we are.

Your birthday party this past weekend was combined with our Summer BBQ event this year. We tried to keep it on the smaller side because we did all the food, instead of a potluck. It was still a good-sized crowd and I think 12-13 of your little friends (plus their parents) were here. That's a lot of kids running around YOUR house, playing with YOUR toys and generally reeking havoc. But you seemed to feed off the energy of all the people and enjoy being social. Maybe you will grow up to love parties (uh-oh). I'm really glad we got to celebrate up in Seattle this year with the friends you see the most and with your Portland-area grandparents on hand too. But mostly I'm glad your Daddy was present (and not hiking the Grand Canyon like last year) to light your candle, play with you on the lawn and see how much fun you had as we celebrated your birthday.

We love you and look forward to another year of wonderment with you.

Much love,

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5 comments on Letter to my Daughter on her 2nd Birthday

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By Angie Alaniz on October 24, 2011 at 06:59 pm

What a lovely piece of art that will be a great memory for not only you and your daughter but for all of those who were around her on that special day. Time flies by so fast and these words and I am sure pictures you have also collected will bring much love and joy to you and your family.

Its always great to hear people speak of what family really means to them especially these days, and probably why I enjoyed it so much.

Thanks for sharing your specail day with us.

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By TonyBerkman on October 24, 2011 at 07:14 pm

Your daughter sounds wonderful and you and your husband possess a great sense of balance in the way you share your love with her that the "balancing act" will likely be one of joy. Thank you for sharing your cherished thoughts and moments.

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By MBJ Pancras on October 26, 2011 at 11:20 am

Your letter to your daughter indeed is touching with the words "because for all the brutality and horror in the world there is also beauty and light and magic. It's important to me that you gradually understand that all of it exists in the world."


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By Felicia Stevenson on November 08, 2011 at 01:41 am


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By Credo on October 13, 2013 at 04:50 pm

Cherish these fleeting moments, because they will never come by us again. Also save the letter in laminated form, writing one every year on her birthday. The letter idea was a brilliant thought, I wish I had thought of it when my children were infants.

Excellent article...


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