From Mama to Bo
My dearest Bo,
In a few hours, you turn two. Two. I have been your Mama for two full years, and I am still catching myself in mild states of disbelief.
You are an extraordinary human being even at your age. You do typical toddler boy things, and also don’t. Your eyes light up around us, around your friends, and when trucks and buses are in sight. You have your Dada’s ease with affection–an abundance of it. I think of (and partially worry about) how I need to make you understand that not everyone will love hugs and kisses the way our little family does. But I always will, Bo. One of my life’s biggest hopes now is that you’ll always find home in our arms.
We tell you we love you countless times a day. And we see you trying to utter the same words back to us. You must not think much of those words. As you turn two, let me try to write just what I mean when we say we love you.
I love you like you are joy itself. You are the light of our days, and the hum of peace at night. You are the unstoppable burst of laughter on a dull day. You are a marvel: a human being we made who is becoming a person of your own. That is difficult for me to admit, for as we raise you to become more independent, I still not-so-secretly want to keep being needed by you.
I love you and how you made me and your Dada work harder, sleep less, sing and dance more, and live gently. You flew 24 times and saw 7 countries before you were even 20 months old. We swear we became different persons from that first flight with you, and since then became more overpacked but giddier travelers of this world making anywhere feel like home. We have never been more stressed, but we wouldn’t have our lives any other way. Not at all.
I love you like I love tomorrow. Your life has become central to our hopes and fears. You have trivialized other aspirations; raising you simply deepened our desire for a better and kinder world. (Also, I do find myself hoping that our neighbors will keep shopping so you’ll see those exciting delivery trucks every day.)
I love you and I am grateful to you. You have made life in a pandemic something that’s not just bearable, but beautiful. Routines, nursery rhymes, transformed living space, a little bit of mess: we found sanctuary from it all. Your toddler curiosity shielded us from spiraling down to the negativity of the world outside and online. You teach us that life always seems better after a snack or a nap. You don’t hesitate to hug a new friend you just met. You look people in the eye, almost trying to read their faces. I see myself in those moments.
I love you with a love that keeps growing every second of every day. I love you fiercely. I love you softly. I love you with a love no one else has ever described.
Bo, you have no idea how lucky we feel because you’re here. Happy 2nd birthday, my little man.
Forever yours, Mama
From Dada to Bo
Dear Little Guy,
I’m writing this birthday greeting in the midst of a global pandemic. Amid all the uncertainty and suffering, you have been a true blessing helping us salvage meaning and purpose despite the circumstances.
Since I’ve been working from home, I’ve gotten to spend everyday with you. As I prepare to go back to working full time, I lament the fact that I won’t always be there to change your nappy, brush our teeth together, or cuddle on the couch watching Daniel Tiger. Soon we will be missing each other in the middle of the day, but I vow to savor the time we have together–the bedtime stories, the random kisses, and the Friday mornings watching the trucks on Sheikh Zayed Road.
Watching your personality unfold has been a singular highlight of my life. I see the best parts of your mother and me in you. You are truly caring, funny, and you take joy in the presence of others. You are full of impulse and passion, but you are quick to apologize and always have time for a biiiiiiiiiig hug. You are hungry to learn–reading books and asking questions and constantly seeking to uncover the magic of the world around you–and this attribute will help you succeed however the future shakes out.
I’m excited to watch you grow in the coming years and get to know you as a person as you evolve into the person you will become. I pray we can always take comfort in each other, learn from each other, and challenge each other to be our best.
I love you my son. Here’s to the first two years of our journey as a family together and to many, many moooooooooooore!
With love and gratitude, Dada