To My Daughter on the Eve of Her Second Birthday

Dear Penny,

At this time last year, I was busy preparing for the big party we were having to celebrate your first birthday. As many parents say when they are having a big first birthday bash for their child, it was a party for us more than anything, to celebrate our first year as parents. While you enjoyed your first cupcake and being surrounded by lots of smiling faces, you really didn’t know what was going on or fully appreciate all of the work that went into that day. And the funny thing is, your Daddy and I didn’t get to enjoy it much either. Between all of the decorations (mostly made by hand) and the food prep, and stressing about the weather forecast, and then trying to visit with each of our guests who so graciously came to celebrate with us, we hardly got to sit back and enjoy ourselves at all. At the end of the night, when we were finally able to put our feet up and you were nestled cozily in your crib, we promised ourselves that we would keep things low key the following year so the we could actually enjoy being with you on your birthday. And we did.

Tomorrow when you wake up, you will come down the stairs to a festive banner and some balloons, and a special present that you will be allowed to open early (a cute new bathing suit) so that you can use it when we take you to the water park later. You will be thrilled to discover that Daddy is not going to “wort” like he normally does, but will be joining us for breakfast at your favorite dining establishment, The Waffle House, where we will share the All Star breakfast with an extra side of grits and hash browns smothered and covered. We will burn off our breakfast splashing around in the water, and will come home just in time to take a nice long nap.

Mom and Dad will most likely use this time to snuggle with your sister and reflect on all of the ways you have grown in the past year. From learning to walk, to running, to trying unsuccessfully albeit adorably to jump into the air…from making sounds to saying first words to forming actual sentences and having conversations with us…from sleeping in a crib to sleeping in a big girl bed…from being an only child to a super sweet and loving big sister…it has been truly amazing to see all of these changes take place in you. And yet you are still the you that I wrote about in this post last year- still the sweetest, silliest little girl that we could ever hope to call our daughter. After all of this marveling is done, your Mommy will probably have a good cry and your Daddy will be ready with lots of tissues because he knows how your Mommy gets when she thinks about how much she loves you.

When you wake up well-rested and refreshed, you will be delighted to hear that your favorite people in the world, Nana, Papa, Grandma, Auntie Manda and Uncle Brandon are all coming over for dinner and cake. You will feast on cheesy bites of enchilada, blow out your Happy Birthday candles on your sprinkle-dusted confetti birthday cake, and open more presents. You will get super silly and hyper as you always tend to do when we combine the element of sugar, the excitement of being surrounded by family, and staying up late. Just as it gets dark outside, you will sleepily watch as two lanterns are lit and float up into the sky to commemorate your second year of life. We will all go to bed happy and fulfilled, grateful to have spent such a perfect day with the ones we love.

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Happy 2nd Birthday Penelope Joy- we love you more than you ever will know.


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