Today is my beautiful niece Jacqueline’s second birthday. I sat down this morning to write her a letter. I love you Jacqueline.
Happy Birthday Jacqueline!
So you’re two today. You know that only happens once. Not just turning two, but doubling your age in one year – well done.
I’ve noticed two big changes in you over the past year. First, is your mobility. Man, you are fast now. And no more of this crawling stuff – you are speedster on two legs. It’s good though, that makes me keep up with you and helps keep Unca Gee (that’s what you call me) stay in good shape and keeps his tummy from getting its own zip code.
When I get you up from your nap and take you downstairs you race for the stairs traversing them like an experienced alpinist. You dash toward the kitchen and open the pantry door where you know exactly where all of your favorite treats are. “Up, up, up” you plead asking me to lift you so that you can have a better view. And then your eyes will lock in on your prey. “Baby mum-mums, baby mum-mums!” you call out. Who knew that rice cakes were so popular with your generation?
And this leads into the other area that I have noticed the most change in you – your ability to communicate. A year ago you were very limited on what and how you communicated with me, but now you are pretty talkative. And you know more colors than me (in all fairness I’m colorblind). You can identify monkeys and whales and ladybugs. You really like ladybugs! You’ve even learned a few words in Español – muy bien!
I want you to know how appreciative I am of the time you spend with me. You take excellent care of me when your mom and dad aren’t around to watch me. You take me to the park and allow me to pick you up and raise you high in the sky again and again. You’ve encouraged me to work on my reading aloud skills and have even entrusted me with the Diaper Genie (that thing is worthy of a Nobel Prize). I’ve even gotten your permission to tuck you into bed. In short, you believe in me. And I believe in you.
Today you will be showered with gifts. Hold on to the feeling you have when you see your cake and all the gifts people have brought you. I have that feeling every time we’re together. Every time you smile at me, hold my hand, shout Unca Gee, say a new word, try to walk in my shoes, wave at me from the window when I arrive, ask me to pick you up so that you can choose what color binky you want at bedtime and most of all, when you run at me full speed, arms wide open and give me one of your powerful hugs.
Jacqueline, I cannot imagine my life without you. With the exception of the rare temper tantrum or multi-directional food hurling exploits, you are so far beyond your two little years. I love how you handle yourself. Remember when we were at Gymboree and that boy pushed you out of the way so he could go first. You kept your cool and didn’t react by pushing him back. You were like, “No big deal, we’re all gonna get a chance.” It was priceless. A lot of us adults could learn something from that.
I love you very much / Te quiero muchisimo!