Today is Leif’s second birthday. Tonight we are having a small gathering with neighbors and a couple friends, and this weekend we will spend a fun day doing things that Leif loves. He’s still young enough that he doesn’t seem to understand that it’s his birthday, or what that means–but I’m sure he’ll enjoy his ice-cream cake and presents anyway. =)
In the months after Leif was born, we’d pegged him for our calm, sweet baby. He had a look of perpetual concern about him, with raised eyebrows that made him look as if he were always wondering what the heck is going on around here? Within a month of him learning to walk, however, his personality changed almost entirely; with mobility came a new sense of mischief that he carries with him today. He loves trouble, getting a twinkle in his eye before he takes a toy from August or pulls up a stool to dig through the cupboard where we hide the chocolate.
As I think about this little dumpling and the two years we’ve shared together, all the cliches come to mind: I can’t imagine my life without him; I love him more than I ever thought possible, and I love him more every day; he’s just the most wonderful little creature. It’s hard to find something to say about one’s child that hasn’t been said a billion times before (and doesn’t sound like utter tripe to everyone else!). But parenting isn’t about having the most superlative child or saying the most superlative things, about loving them more than every other mother has ever loved their baby.
Mothering has, in fact, been almost the opposite for me: it has been incredibly humbling. Being a mother is realizing that your child really is the most wonderful being in the world–and so is everyone else’s child. It’s about loving them like no one has loved a child before–except the few billion children who came before and will come after yours. It’s about swinging between fury and compassion in an instant, feeling as exasperated as you ever will and as bowed by love as you ever will.
To my little Leif on his birthday–to all of the fury and love of the previous year, to all of the fury and love of the year to come. I love you.