my dear sweet Penny Jane,
I don't know what happened, but I blinked and you went from being a tiny little baby to a full blown little girl. Today, you turn 2 years old and I'm in disbelief. I could go on about how fast this last year went, but I will probably say that every year for the rest of all the years and so let's not get hung up on that part.
I've watched this year as you took your first steps which turned into walking and now running with reckless abandon. I've heard your first non-crying sounds become lots of jibberish and more recently a lot of real words and phrases. Just this last week, you've begun chatting all the time and stringing words together. Daddy says he cannot wait for you to really talk so we can know what you are saying, but I keep telling him that he should be careful what he wishes for. I know you are going to be a non-stop talker, just like he is...and then I'll have two of you!
Some of my favorite recent words & phrases are:
"A big mess!"
"Mama, mama!" (--->obviously my favorite)
"I see you!"
One of our favorite weekend activities is going to the park. Your dad and I love it just as much, if not more, than you! I've watched you go from being terrified of the swings, to climbing up the jungle gym and refusing our help to go down the big slide. I've watched you learn how to use a fork and spoon, and how you love to clean up when you've made a mess. One of your favorite past times is throwing away garbage.
You are such a good girl. You play so nicely for hours with all of your toys, your favorites being your baby dolls and your play kitchen & food from Santa. You always make breakfast and dinner for me and these are the moments that I look forward to each day. You recently discovered bath finger paints and so bathtime has gotten exponentially more fun. We paint up the tub and listen to a variety of Disney music every night. You love music and dancing. Sometimes we do 'our dance' which consists of wiggling, twirling and, your favorite, dipping. You don't want to miss out on anything and you have serious FOMO. You love playing with bigger kids and it makes my heart want to burst watching you chasing and playing with other kids.
You are rambunctious and you know what you want, when you want it. I hope that you never outgrow that. My hope for you in life is to always know what you want and that you go after it and make it happen for yourself. Don't wait for things to happen, or for someone else to get things for you. Get things for yourself.
While I can see that we are entering the terrible twos (evidenced this week by some hitting and lots of 'mine!'), I know that you will grow up to be a nice girl. I can see already how you share with friends, how you give so many hugs & kisses, how you love to help Mom clean up or in the kitchen, and how you just want to be a part of everything that goes on. I hope that you will always be kind and always see the good in others. You never know what kind of day someone else is having or what they are going through.
I hope you will always be happy in whatever you do. No matter what it is, life isn't life without happiness. I hope you find joy in small things in life and always appreciate what you have and recognize what others might not have. My dad, your Poppy, always told me to make good decisions. I hope that you will always make good decisions. But even if you don't, I'll be here.
This last year has been the most fun of my life. It's often hard and exhausting and caffeine-ridden and unshowered and bleary eyed, but Penelope, you've brought so much joy, light and laughter to my life and you are the best thing I've ever done. You make me laugh, you make me cry and you make everyday better. After a rough day, I forget it all when I come home to you. And I usually can't wait for you to wake in the morning because I've missed you already. I think my absolute favorite time of day though is when we do post-bath, pre-bedtime snuggles on the couch with a good movie.
You really love school and that makes me so happy. It's so hard to leave you everyday, but I know that you are having fun with your friends at school. I go to work for you and for me and for our family. I hope that I make you proud. I hope that when you are grown, you are ambitious and do the things that you love and work hard at those things. One of the aspects of motherhood that I never anticipated is the realization of my own mortality and not to get morbid, but I often just sit back and think about how much I hope that I'm around for a very, very long time to see everything that you do in life.
Most of all, Penelope, THANK YOU for being the sweet, adorable, amazing little girl you are. Thank you for making everyday special. I can't wait to see what this year brings!