To My Quinn, on Your Second Birthday

My little girl, I don’t even know how we got here so fast.

It feels like I was just sitting down to write you a letter before your first birthday, and now I find myself with that all-too familiar lump in my throat, panicking to mentally prepare for you to turn two. Two seems so much older than one! And I’m sitting here staring at my white screen as the space bar blinks at me over and over like a second hand on a digital clock, and I’m longing for more time and wishing more words would come. Because what do you say about someone who has completely flipped your world on it’s head, sprinkling it with more magic than all the stars in the sky? The one who is followed by a halo of joy wherever she goes, bringing light to everyone and everything she touches? That’s what you are, Quinn Emilia, you are pure magic. There are simply not words adequate enough to describe the wonderfulness of you. So I’ll start by recapping this year, another full of so many firsts, leaving me in a daze as we only have so many first experiences with wonder in our eyes until they become the norm in our lives. So here is what our second year loving you looked like:

We started eating dairy after your first birthday, realizing you’d outgrown your allergy, and that was life changing! Some of your favorite foods include milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream, and girl, I don’t blame you! You still love all the foods you did last year, but we’ve also discovered how extremely picky you are, so that’s been challenging to navigate to say the least. You are so incredibly smart, and you’re speaking in up to five-word sentences and singing songs pretty accurately from memory (Old McDonald and Un Poco Loco are your current favorites). You give kisses like it’s going out of style, and any time you have “owies,” a kiss from mom or dad makes it “all bettow.” Oh, how I’m going to miss the days when I could simply kiss your hurt away…We took your first trip to Disneyland this year (which also happened to be your first airplane ride), and it was a whirlwind of crazy, amazing memories that you will never remember and I’ll never forget. Your blonde hair has been growing so fast and you’re finally keeping your bows in because they’re “pwetty”, and you are every definition of a little princess. You looove dancing while dressed up in your Elsa dress, and stomping around to Winnie the Pooh in your black boots. You love to FaceTime your family, and I shutter to think that FaceTime will be an outdated technology one day as you may be reading this, and I just never want those years to pass. You can now go down the stairs and get on and off the bed by yourself, and go down most slides by yourself, though sometimes we still need to “hold a hand.” I cherish every single time you ask me to hold your warm, tiny, hand. I never want to let it go. We got bikes on dad’s birthday and you love wearing your helmet and sitting in your seat in front of me, and it’s honestly the best. I could go on and on about everything you love and everything that makes you, you in your second year of life. You’re still as sweet and precious as you were last year, but this year, you’re so funny. Dad and I always talk about how much laughter you bring into our lives, and how we utterly adore every hilarious thing that comes out of those kissable little lips.

I could stare at you all day, my girl, and drink in the wonder that sparkles in those blue eyes every time you see someone you love or experience something new. Living through your eyes has been one of the biggest privileges I could ever ask for, and I hope that spark never goes away. I have found myself filled with so much regret this year; did I make the most of it? Did I take too much for granted when I was in the weeds raising this smart, sassy, firecracker of a daughter? Did I complain too much when it was hard, when I was so frustrated and exhausted with toddler life that I constantly yearned for a break? These thoughts flooded my mind tonight in the shower and I cried and cried, then cried even more tears of thankfulness and happiness for this life. You always make me want to be better, Quinn. You are so beautiful, so perfect, so exhausting, and so worth it, and I will never forget what an honor it has been to grow right beside you in these past couple of years. The thought that we’re getting closer to ending our time together nursing shatters my heart, and I’m so thankful to have had that inexplicable bond for this long. You have taught me more about myself than anyone ever has, and I am your biggest fan in the world. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you, and I couldn’t be more proud to call you my daughter. I will always, always cherish putting you to bed with your head resting on my shoulder, as you grab my face in the dark and give me kisses. How I still look at you and want to cry because I’ve never seen anything else in the word as enchanting as your smile. Stars follow you and emulate out of your squishy cheeks, the ones I kiss a million times a day because I know it won’t be long before they loose their delicious plumpness. I never want this to end, my Quinn. I know you’ll never remember these years, so dad and I will lock them away for safe keeping and treasure them for the rest of our lives, with every breath we take. Because every breath is for you. Happy second birthday Quinny, thank you for simply being the incredible you. I’m so honored to dance and stomp and sing right beside you for the rest of our days. Never lose that magic halo, and always remember that you are more loved than you could ever know.

Love, Mama

“You won’t believe it, strange as it sounds
Extraordinary magic follows you around
And the camera can’t catch it, you won’t see it in the mirror
If I say look behind you, you turn around, it disappears

So I’ll keep my eyes open, awed and amazed
And if you start to doubt it, I’ll remind you of the million ways

I see it, I see it
I swear I do
I see extraordinary magic in you.”

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