Half of our children have birthdays in the middle of summer...all within about a week.
So we do a lot of celebrating and present-opening and special meal-making this time of year. MaryAnn is first. Diggy is 3 days later. And Kirsten 5 days after that. It feels like Christmas.
My Sweet MaryAnn, you have grown so much since the day we brought you home from the hospital. I still remember holding you with such care because your little body seemed so fragile compared to all those older siblings I'm used to corralling. I remember how your brothers and sisters welcomed you home and exploded with so much love that I thought for sure our house would just lift off the ground and float up to heaven right back to where you came from.
I blogged about a few of your early milestones here. I have very much adored watching you grow! You have inspired me many times. (examples here and here) I can't imagine life without you!
And now, you can officially be counted among the world's 'Terrible 2-Year-Olds.' Sometimes I wonder where that phrase came from. Is it American? European? (I have no idea.) Does it exist because the unscarred purity of the newborn days disappear as the average two-year-old becomes a mirror directly reflecting the drama of each moment in this up and down world? If so, that means when I really stop to look at you at this new age, I get to see a glimpse of both the beautiful and the not so beautiful aspects of every day life (and switching back and forth between these two countless times because there are oh so many moments in a day). As your mother, I don't mind sharing all of life's extremes with you. Your joys and challenges make my heart grow bigger and stronger as we journey together. To me, it feels more on the "Terrific!" side.
MaryAnn's sisters were worried about sleeping in too late on her birthday morning, so they went to bed early and I heard their pitter-pattering feet at 5:57 am. They decorated the house with streamers while they waited for her to wake up. She joyfully ran through the ones hanging from the doorway...just as they were hoping. They'd been counting down the days to go to the local children's museum because we haven't been there since MaryAnn was a tiny baby. They wanted to show her the grocery carts and the babies...they know how much she loves babies. They thought it would make the perfect birthday present. It did:
<MaryAnn had a gigantic 2-year-old hug for Daddy when the boys came home from their very successful camp. Then she spontaneously plugged her nose to confirm that her older sisters' warnings about the boys smelling when they returned was true. I gave Brent a big kiss and like an ancient queen I pleaded my case, "But as for myself, to me he doth not stink.">
<Diggy was thrilled that we'd decided to save MaryAnn's birthday-present-opening until they returned because then they could open presents together.>
It's hard to believe Diggy is 11. He's my California baby. He's a peacemaker. He's a nature and animal lover. He prefers to be barefoot. He picked cheesecake instead of cupcakes to celebrate his big day this year. His LEGO collection is growing...and growing... He adds such creative energy to our household. He adds such love and empathy to the world everywhere he goes. I just can't imagine life without you either, Diggy!! You inspire us with your goodness. (more examples of that here)
Last year the word birthday had no meaning to MaryAnn and since last year Diggy has shared his birthday list with me during nearly every one of our one-on-one chats. This year MaryAnn repeated 'birthday' for the first time just the day before hers but still had no concept of why it made the rest of us so bubbly. But after streamers and singing and presents and learning to answer "Two" when we ask, "How old are you?" she seems to have a clearer picture that birthdays are a special time to celebrate that we LOVE having someone in our family!
Can't wait for one more celebration the end of this week...