Every weekday, your dad and I wake up at 7 o’clock in the morning. Sometimes he hits the snooze button, but eventually, he gets out of bed and gets dressed. I lay there listening to the white noise machine playing nothing through the baby monitor on my bedside table. Every day your dad comes to my side of the bed on his way out. He kisses me. I tell him I love him and to have a good day, and then he goes to work.
Most days I wonder how I got to be this lucky. I am no longer defined by my job title. I am no longer anxious about the success of my project, and by extension, I am no longer anxious about the success of my career. I no longer put in long hours at the office that my role as Project Manager required. I no longer come home drained of energy with nothing left to give to you or your dad.
I spend time outside nearly every day. I am getting tan. I walk about 10 miles every week. I clean more than I used to. I cook a lot more than I used to. Somehow I do the same amount of laundry that I always did. I write a little on most days. And I am so lucky. I am lucky because every day, I spend all day with you.
Every day there are cuddles in the rocking chair. Some days there are stories before breakfast. Every day I ask: what do you want to eat? Some days you say ‘pink’ and I mix blackberry jam into yogurt. Some days you say ‘angel muffin’ and I put an English muffin in the toaster. Some days you eat half the muffin then eat just the raisins from the other half. Some days you yell ‘oatmeal’ with a big smile and if there is none in the fridge, I wonder if you can last the thirty minutes it will take to make a big pot of steel cut oats. Every day we eat breakfast together. Some days I make a spinach and blueberry shake, and every one of those days, you get a spinach and blueberry mustache. Every day I wipe your hands and face so you can get down from the table and play. Many days, I do this after you’ve shoved the last bites from your plate onto the floor. Some days I let the dogs out of their kennel to clean up the mess.
Most days we take a walk. Some days I push you in a stroller. Other days I carry you in a pack on my back. Every day you bring your stuffed giraffe. Some days we bring Billy and Baxter, our two Maltese. Some days we stop at the park so you can all play. Some days we skip the park and go straight back to the house. Some days we have dogs to wash or groceries to buy or doctor’s appointments to attend or errands to run. Some days we go to the library or the zoo or the children’s museum or the play place at the mall. Some days we have play dates. Some days we go to the beach. Some days we just play at the house.
Some days you whine because you are too frustrated to use your words. Some days you are tired and you fuss. Some days you are contrary and do the opposite of what I ask. Most days I am patient and remember your little body is full of hormones and your little brain is developing at the rate of a hormonal teenager, so of course you will be out of sorts on some days. On those days I try to go at your pace. On those days, I try to remind myself that my to do list is not as important as spending quality time with you. Even on those days I remind myself that each day with you is a gift. Some days I am not as patient as I would like to be.
Most days, your little personality rings like a gong through our house. There are days you make me laugh when you walk up the stairs like a monkey or when you squeal with delight when you rediscover giraffe, or when you use a singsong voice to coax the wary dogs into letting you love them. There are days you melt my heart when you give me a kiss without prompting. Every day you make me smile just by being in the same room with you.
Every day we eat lunch together. Some days we eat almond butter sandwiches at the kitchen table. Some days you ask to eat at your play table, but those days mean lunch all over the floor. Some days we meet a friend at a restaurant so I can stay in touch. Some days, no matter where you sit, lunch goes all over the floor. Most of those days, if I can, I let the dogs out of their kennel to clean up the mess.
Every day you take a nap after lunch. Every day your stuffed giraffe takes a nap too. Most days you go down without a fight. Some days I mop the floors while you nap. Lots of days I do laundry. Some days I spend hours reorganizing a room or closet that has languished for years. Some days I do research or call my mom or check email or sit in the sun. Most days I try to write something. Some days I take a nap too.
Some days, we go out in the afternoon, but most days we stay in. Some days I make dinner because I’m minding the budget. Some days you stand on a chair at the counter and hoard all of the vegetables I’ve just cut. Some days, when dad gets home, we go out to dinner and throw the budget to the wolves.
Some nights, I give you a bubble bath, then dad brushes your teeth, reads you three books, sings you a song, and puts you to bed. Other nights we switch. Some nights you fight sleep with screams, and Dad and I take turns stepping in to reassure you.
On a few nights, you wake up crying. Some nights it’s because your diaper soaked through. Some nights you wake up hungry. One night you woke up afraid of a spider. Every night you cry, I come for you. Every night you cry, I comfort you. Some nights you need a new diaper and dry pajamas. Some nights you need bread and cheese. One night I turned on the lights, removed every friend and blanket from your crib, and showed you that there was no spider in your bed. Every night I hold you. Every night I hug you. Every night I tell you I love you. Most nights you go right back to sleep.
Many days I think of all the lessons I want to teach you; be true to yourself; be compassionate; be kind; be independent; stick up for the little guy; be a leader when no one else will. Other days I wonder how long it will take us to get you potty trained.
Some days I think of all the lessons I don’t want to teach you: impatience, disinterest, anger, and disdain. On those days I try to remember that I’m human and that you’ll survive me.
Every day I am grateful for the gift of time. Every day I am grateful that you just turned two. Every day I am grateful my husband goes to work and I get to stay home with you. Every day, for at least a moment, I am conscious of and grateful for this life I get to live. And every day from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep I am grateful for you.