You are turning two on Saturday, and I am not ready. So many changes will occur in the next 12 months. The year that spans from two to three will transform you from a squealing toddler to a little boy, and I am not ready. It is so hard to say goodbye to the baby.
Over the course of the next year you will give up diapers, the crib will be packed away and replaced with a child sized bed, your chubby little thighs and kissable feet will melt away to reveal the skinny gangly running legs of a confident preschooler. Your blond hair will inevitably darken to a dirty light brown. And I am not ready.
I can't believe it has been two years since you were born. Of course I remember that day as if it just happened. You entered the world eighteen days early, and quiet noisily. You cried for what seemed like hours before settling into infant slumber. Those first days in the hospital were filled with the quiet moments of midnight nursing and round the clock snuggles. "Don't sleep with the baby in your bed", the nurses warned, but you were irresistible.
That first summer was not an easy one, you were colicky and difficult to sooth, but we eventually found our rhythm. Our daily walks, accompanying your brother to the playground, you snuggled up against me in the baby bjorn, the weight and the warmth of you with me always. Our middle of the night feedings, which I welcomed. Our special time alone basking in the moonlight that streamed through your nursery windows. The sweet little outfits, the teddy bear onsies, the choo-choo train overalls which provided endless excuses for photographs. You were beautiful. You are beautiful.
But you are growing, and you will continue to grow- away from me. It is a difficult fact of life that all parents must face. The longer we hold you, the longer we know you, the more we love you, the more we crave you, and the more we need you. But as children grow, they begin to move away from us. They seek independence, and they transform in front of our eyes into an individual one that we can no longer lay claim to as "mine". Babies once a part of their mother's body, quickly grow and become their own person leaving us with a mix of emotion. Pride, joy, entitlement and perhaps loneliness.
I am not ready. But you are sweet Evan. I can see it in your mischievous eyes. The world excites you. Each new milestone achieved is a thrill. The way your legs have learned to "run" in a clumsy sort of way, the way you emphatically pick out your pirate socks every morning, the way you assert "I don't like that" when given an offensive food. You are ready.
The next year will be a busy one, and by the time you turn three I will look back and wonder where the months went, where the baby went. There you will be my little boy, running, talking, loving and making trouble. And while there will be little trace of infant left, you my dear, will always be my baby.