Dearest Little One,
I can’t believe that we are apart on your second birthday. It is wrong, and terrible, and though you don’t understand the particular terribleness, I do. You are home with Daddy and Grandma, while I am in the hospital, staying still and safe and quiet to make sure your little sister has as much time to cook as possible. Much as I want to rush her along, I know she needs just a little more time. Someday you’ll understand this.
Because I am here, and you are home, on your second birthday, your father and I have made a decision: to pretend today is not your birthday. Imagining you opening your gifts in a hospital room, or having cupcakes and singing “Happy Birthday” without me at home, is unfathomable, heartbreaking. And so we are going to wait until I am home to celebrate. We will give you your gifts, and get balloons, and make cupcakes, and sing “Happy Birthday,” in two weeks’ time, when this separation is finally over. I have to trust that you will have no idea of the difference, that you won’t be scarred for life at this grand deception.
Of course, when I see you this morning during your visit, all I will be thinking about is that my little girl is two. Two!
In the weeks before my hospitalization, and even more so in the two weeks since, you have been growing and changing at warp speed. You are growing bigger—some of the 2T pants are too small already, since you have such long legs and such a long torso. You are eating more, and you have a plump baby face now, cheeks that swell like little apples when you smile. And you are talking up a storm, soaking up new words and phrases like a sponge. You babble constantly, and it’s so entertaining to listen to you—it is often your very own language, which you use consistently; one of these days I’ll understand it all.
Every time you visit me in the hospital you look older and seem to say more things, and I miss spending every day with you so I can witness all the changes as soon as they happen.
You love going to the playground these days, and you’ve gotten so much more active and daring—ladders, hanging from things, walking over a shaky balance beam. You’ve gotten much more social—playing with other children sometimes, greeting strangers in elevators, even hugging your Music Together teacher when you were there this week with Grandma. You are still my quiet, bookish little one, but other sides of you are coming out now, which is so much fun to see.
You still adore your stuffed animals, and you’ve been playing with a new sticker book that Grandma brought you. You love watching Elmo videos online, and you of course still love reading books. Being apart from you for the past nearly two weeks, it is a bit unnerving to not know what’s occupied your attention at home during this time. But whenever I call I hear you in the background, chattering buoyantly, so I know whatever it is you’re doing is making you happy.
This is a big birthday for you—your last as an only child—and I wish desperately we could celebrate today. But in a way it will be nice to celebrate once I’m home with your sister, to reaffirm right away that you are still our little baby whom we adore more than words can describe. You’ve been so flexible and adaptable these past couple of weeks, and I know you’re going to make the transition to big sisterhood easily as well (eventually, at least). But today, and when we actually celebrate your birthday, I hope you know that what I want more than anything is to sit together and snuggle on the couch with my adorable firstborn. Soon, little one, soon.