(I wrote this post yesterday, but dropped my phone in the toilet and it wouldn’t transfer any photos to the computer. I didn’t want to leave them out, so waited till today – but trying to rewrite the post saying ‘yesterday’ just didn’t work. So I hope you’ll allow my a little artistic license, and read this post as if it were yesterday!)
Today, my sweet girl turned two.
Often, when it comes to our children’s birthdays and other landmarks, we either look back nostalgically, and mourn that life is passing too quickly, or we look far, far ahead, feeling that somehow life will be easier or our kids more rewarding once they can do this, understand that. In other words, we show our disappointment in what we have today.
But as I was pushing Missy on the swings this morning, I remembered photos of Mister on the same swing on his second birthday, and just how different it was. When Mister turned two, we had a 3-week-old newborn in tow. I believe the day was boiling hot – an unusual week-long heatwave at the end of September 2011 – and we spent it in the park, enjoying a family lunch at Ambience, and then relaxing in our garden, Mister enjoying his new cricket set and us devouring my first, semi-disastrous attempt at cake pops. But, to be honest, most of this I know only because we have photos from the day – I was far too sleep-deprived to really know what was going on!
So today I have experienced immense gratitude that we are where we are. Gratitude that we’re well and truly out of the baby phase, gratitude that I got a full night’s sleep last night, gratitude that I’m only dealing with one child in nappies, gratitude that my children now happily go to other people, gratitude that both are weaned, gratitude that I could afford more time on the cake pops, etc, etc…
Today I’ve simply been enjoying Missy being 2. I’ve felt immense gratitude that certain things are a lot easier now than they were two years ago, wilfully ignoring the fact that other things are a lot harder. I’ve felt immense gratitude that I’m still enjoying her at home for a good while longer, despite the fact that her future – going to school, spending more time out of the home – will bring more time and opportunities for me.
Today, I am grateful. I am grateful for today.
Missy is determined, feisty, cheeky, funny and strong-willed. She wants to do everything her big brother does: climbing, jumping and wrestling. She loves to draw, stick and model with play dough. She adores babies – both real ones, and dolls, who she plays with non-stop. She plays a mean game of Old Macdonald Lotto, switching boards when she fears she may be losing. She gets away with it because she is just so damned cute. She is starting to understand who Jesus is, communicated via signs and play.
Communicating without language is one of Missy’s great skills. She is confident to socialise with peers and adults, and can get herself involved in games and other activities remarkably skilfully for one who cannot yet say many identifiable words.
This third year will be an interesting ride. Should I be concerned about her sparse language? It’s pretty common for kids not to communicate much before the age of 3 or 4. But if there is a problem – surely early intervention is crucial? We are at the very, very early stages of gaining some outside assistance with Missy’s language. It will be play-based, in a group of other 2-3 year olds. Low-key. But hopefully helpful to Missy. And to us, as we watch her development and decide on future intervention.
Our culture often writes of parenthood as a right. Friends, let us never, ever forget that children are a blessing, an enormous responsibility, and a huge privilege. All around me, friends are experiencing struggles in conceiving, miscarriages, and the early deaths of their children. I pray for a third year with Missy – but I could never demand it.
Today, I will be grateful for today.