by Jess Walnofer
An Open Letter to my Toddler
To my toddler,
How do I put into words exactly how I feel about you?
From the moment you were born, you have had me in complete awe. I stayed up countless hours during those early sleepless nights, just to watch your chest rise and fall. Just to stare a little longer at the shape of your face and memorize every detail. Just to ponder what your life will look like as it unfolds.
Fast forward a few months and life is busy, but bearable. I flew the spoon into your mouth, with the airplane noises and all. Your dad and I watched as you appeared delighted or disgusted, depending on what was in the jar. We rejoiced over every new accomplishment and marveled at every new expression.
By ten months, you were crawling. Life is even busier now. We baby-proofed the house and let you have free reign. I chased after you occasionally, helping you up and down. You started to talk and my heart swelled with pride at the first noise that could be construed as “Mama”. I’m starting to feel as if I have a handle on this thing called motherhood.
Enter the toddler years :
Life is busier than ever now. I watch you growing, learning, and turning into a child who bears only a small resemblance to the baby I once held.
I chase after you endlessly and then some. You point at every new and exciting thing with squeals of joy and wonder in your eyes.
To my toddler, I want to thank you.
My dear, you have challenged me more than I ever imagined you would. At times, I feel as if I am failing you because you are, often, teaching me more lessons than I am teaching you.
You have taught me how to take the time to really listen and understand the big emotions that are coming out of you. Though sometimes you don’t know how to express what is wrong, I take the time to find a solution. Through this I have learned how to have patience and empathy for others feelings.
You have taught me how to open my heart to new things. To embrace spontaneous ice cream dates and park time, to get out of the routine of everything and breath for a while.
You have taught me that you can smile through the tears and even when life is a little overwhelming, I’ve still got someone in my corner.
"Don't grow up, it's a trap." ~ Peter Pan
Life is busier than ever now.
Most days I wish that these busy years would go by a little quicker, bedtime would last a little longer, and your tears would stop a little faster. But every now and then, I’ll remember that these days are really the ones I will cherish the most. The busy days, the unscheduled days, the challenging days. I want to watch your chest rise and fall a little more. I want to wonder who you’ll be when you go out into this big world, all while you’re in the comfort of my arms. So stay my toddler a little longer, teach me a few more lessons, and just try to never grow up.