A Love Letter

Dear Anthony,

I've been saying that you're almost two for so long that when you suddenly were, it shocked me. Looking at you, it's clear you're not the one year old from a year ago. You had just learned to walk then, and were repeating the familiar phrase "what is that" over and over. It was your first word, though it's more of a phrase, and now you say it with a depth of meaning. You also say everything else you hear, though your R's and L's are a bit fuzzy. I never know whether you're saying bar or ball, but somehow you make yourself known. You always have.

There are wonderful things about you right now: like your love of "Bubba" and "Tewie" of Star Wars, like the way you name all your toys "Vin't" after your baby brother, like the way you ask for hugs when you just want to be held. You love to play peakaboo and to read books and to hear the stories that I make up for you every night before bed. You insist on praying before meals and bedtime, and you never leave anyone out, even if that means praying for the pig just as we're about to eat pork chops.

You constantly surprise me with how fast you learn. You pick up a new word or two every day. You learn the words and the melodies to songs as if they were made for you. Hearing you count or muddle through your ABCs or sing along to Frozen's "In Summer" makes my day. I love the way you hold my hand, the way you need your personal space and hate being "mushed" by anyone. I love the way you fake laugh and ask if you're funny. You actually are.

Before you, I thought I knew what love was. Before you, I thought I knew what happiness was. Before you, I thought I knew myself pretty well. And yet you've blown all my expectations of everything out of the water.  You changed me, little boy. You changed me for the better.

I love you. Happy Birthday, little boy.

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