Happy second birthday to my free-spirited, independent little boy! Each year you amaze me... how much you grow, the things you learn and how much tighter you wrap me around your finger. Just when I think it isn't possible for my heart to love you anymore, the simplest words and smallest of gestures stop me in my tracks and remind me what a precious miracle you are.
The most incredible change in the last year was your level of communication. Twelve months ago, you knew less than a half dozen words and a handful of noises. Anything even remotely cool would make you say "oooo!" or "wow." ...especially choo-choos, busses and semi trucks. Oh, how you love the big trucks. My favorite phrase of yours is "uh oh, whatdidyoudo?" Always one word and always accusing mama of something you did.
But now there's a little man who can talk to me... tell me "good" when I ask how his day went or "tissue" when he has a runny nose and "boogers" to get. After "bubbles" (bath) and "joosh" (juice), you want to go watch "toons" (cartoons) because you sure do love "mouse" (Mickey). You know that after dancing to "hot dog" (the hot dog song), it's time for "na-night" (bedtime) but only after "moo" (milk) and "Boom Boom" (Chicka Chicka Boom Boom). When you're jumping around in the entryway, you're able to tell me that you either want to go "down" (downstairs) or go for a car ride to look for a "baaaaa!" (bus).
The "mama, cuddles" and "na-night, love you" bring me to tears because this blessing is so big and my cup is so small and the overflow has to go somewhere.
March was a rough month for us. It took over month for three of your molars to poke through... which meant a constant cocktail of pain meds and Orajel and waking up every few hours throughout the night. You're lucky you're so cute because you were the most irritable little turd ever. However, we went cold turkey on your binky one night without any problems. I was so proud of you, big boy!
In the beginning of Summer, for some unknown reason, you suddenly became terrified of the water. Baths and getting you in the pool were a struggle, but then one day, you decided to be fearless and you haven't stopped since. We spent most of the summer soaking wet. Evenings were spent out on the deck (naked) in the kiddie pool or water table and weekends in Grandma and Grandpa Z's pool. The most entertaining, euphoric experience of the year was most definitely the Zeeland Splash Pad... your own special brand of toddler crack.
Currently, your favorite toys are Legos, cars and trucks. You love the Fisher Price Main Street over at Grandma's house and the vintage race tracks for your Hot Wheels from Great-Grandma. You still love anything with buttons... phones, remotes, TVs, whatever. Grandma Z even gave you her old iPhone to play with. I know I used to say that I was going to restrict the amount of electronics and technology in your life, but sometimes, for my own sanity, it's best if you and Angry Birds have some quiet time together.
You and "Ora" (Zora) are still best friends. Sometimes you're a sassy little brat that tells her "no no!" for absolutely no reason and you still yank out her butt flaps, but then there are those rare moments I'll catch the two of you spooning and it melts my heart. Remember to thank her someday for not attacking you because, most days, you probably deserve it. I refer to the two of you as Tank and Terror for a reason.
Ryan came into your life this year. We chose to wait awhile before you two met, but it was so worth it. You took to him instantly. Usually when you meet new people, you hide behind my legs and study them carefully. Not Ryan. You climbed up on his lap right away and now when he pulls into the driveway, you run to the front window yelling "Ryyyaaannnn!!!" and greet him with a big hug. I know, buddy, I love him too.
In August, you started a new daycare and were the adorable ring bearer in Aunt Z's wedding. Remember to thank Ryan someday for committing to Brody duty for 7 straight hours on wedding day and not running for the hills. September was a big month. You learned to say "peas" (please) and "chain-chu" (thank you) and could count to ten hitting most of the numbers. We went to the zoo for the first time with Aunt Z and Grandma and Grandpa... you loved the otters, penguins, monkeys and bears the most. You also graduated into a toddler bed and did so incredibly well with the transition. What a big boy!
By the following month, you were singing bits and pieces of the ABCs and Happy Birthday, identifying colors, starting another new daycare and having legit conversations on your fake phones. You love to sing and dance. Your favorite songs are "Dirt" by Florida Georgia Line, "Donkey" by Jerrod Niemann, "Wiggle" by Jason Derulo and "Wanna Be Like You" from the Jungle Book. That damn Wiggle song will be the death of me, but you just love it.
I've grown accustom to people saying what a handful you are, how much energy you have and how you're nothing like any kid they've ever met. I know that someday, that endless supply of energy and strong-willed personality will only transform you into an ambitious, independent, successful man. In the meantime, I'll do my best to keep up and provide you with both wings and roots.
Being a single mom is hard, but being a single mom to you is the toughest job I will ever have. Especially those days when you hate the food that you loved the day before, throw tantrums because I won't let you go outside in the rain or when rocking before bedtime turns into wrestling with alligators. But you know what, Brody... thank you. Thank you for teaching me that Lego and block castles trump a clean house any day and the laundry and errands that don't get done because we're busy cuddling or reading can always wait until tomorrow.
Brody, I can see my whole world in your bright eyes and goofy smile. Sometimes I even hear God in your giggles. As you get older, the world becomes bigger and scarier to me for a thousand terrible, wonderful, hopeless, beautiful reasons that you won’t understand until you're much older. Even as our family dynamic continues to change, never forget that you are my number one and I will be forever grateful for this precious time just the two of us. Happy birthday, my sweet boy. I love you from the bottom of my heart.
Read Brody's one year birthday letter here.