Two years ago today, you were born. I wish I could tell you it was a joyous event, the happiest day of my life, but it wasn't. It was terrifying. I was calm on the outside, but on the inside I was trying to prepare myself for the fact that I might be about to lose you. After all those years of wishing and hoping and waiting and trying and being disappointed over and over, I thought there was a chance I might not get to meet you at all. Or that you'd have to be resuscitated, or would be permanently impaired by having been born so early.
But the moment you were pulled out of my body, you wailed your protest, and that was the moment I knew you would be a fighter. And you are such a fighter, Carter. You're so strong and beautiful and smart and loving and happy, and I am constantly amazed by you!
I love the way you laugh, and the enthusiasm you have for everything. I love the sound of your voice, and the way you soak up the world around you, and your wide-open, chipped-tooth grin. I love how confident you are, even though it means I often have to chase you while you explore a new place (like an airport terminal). I love the way you live in the moment, and the way it challenges me to find ways to help you transition from one activity to the next. I love the way you say "thank you" spontaneously when someone gives you something, and "please" when I've said "no" but you aren't giving up!
I love the single-minded determination with which you tackle a new and difficult task, even working through your frustration and tears until you can do it. That is going to be SUCH a helpful skill when you are older, and I'm so happy to see you have it now. I love the way you observe the world quietly, almost as if you're studying everything around you. I love the way you say "hello!" to strangers, which I must admit is something you learned from Michelle and not from either of your parents!
I love that you love chocolate. Seriously, it warms my heart that you love it so much! I should probably not let you have it as often as I do. :-P
This has been an amazing year to watch you grow and change. Every day you can do more, and say more, and know more, and it's hard to remember now how very tiny and helpless you once were.
I held you every day while you were in the NICU, for hours at a time, and I think you were held almost constantly for the first 6 months of your life, including at night! I enjoyed every moment of it, too. I love that you are still nursing for many reasons, but one is that we have several times a day when we just sit quietly together and cuddle. I also love that nursing is the one thing that calms you down when you're upset, every time. Today we also earn this for making it to two years of nursing:
I admit that I sometimes miss the days when you were a tiny baby sleeping in my arms, but I love watching you grow and change! I love getting to know you and being able to talk to you and learn about the things that interest you. I am excited to see what the next year will bring!
I do hope it will bring you the desire to eat vegetables again. I'm glad you love fruit so much, and I'm glad you are least getting some fiber that way, but seriously: green beans are yummy! So are carrots and peas and sweet potatoes! Until about 6 months ago you would eat anything we put in front of you, but now you're suspicious of foods that aren't obviously fruit or carbs.
Like in this picture from New Year's Day. See those peas and carrots on your plate? You ignored them completely.
Oh, but you're a toddler, and I know this is totally normal. And you know, I am SO thankful that you really are a normal little 2 year old boy, after such a rough beginning. When I sat next to your isolette in the NICU all those nights, it was what I hoped for. :-)
I love you, Carter. Happy Birthday!