Shaky first steps that gained confidence, strength, and speed.
Messy faces, first from ill-aimed fingers, then from awkwardly-held utensils.
Giddy giggles and enigmatic smiles, brought on by ever-more creative forms mischief.
Purest joy at the sound of clapping hands, the sight of high-fives offered, the initiation of a session of patty-cake.
Hard-won teeth, a full baby set minus four molars more.
Typical "annoying little brother" behaviors; often followed by beautiful, "caring little brother" acts of kindness.
Long-awaited hesitant attempts at verbal communication.
High-pitched, happy "bye-byes" offered with enthusiasm and the slightest bit of shyness.
Eager waves and blown kisses.
Earnest pleas of "up."
A curt "yeah," as the answer to every question (unless it warrants a vigorous head shake instead).
Day-long bouts of frustration and/or discomfort.
Impromptu kisses, hugs and cuddles.
Restlessness at mealtimes.
A downy head first fuzzy-haired, then rat-tailed, then full on party-in-the-back.
Unexpected acts of empathy, gentleness, and love.
So far, for me, Two has been...
A day of beauty in the midst of great sadness.
Lovely red outfits, left abandoned during the missed Christmas celebrations of some weeks past, brought forth and owned.
A little Christmas magic recaptured in the midst of still-unretired decorations.
Wild and free jet-setting all through the house.
Happy squeals and plentiful laughter.
Cake devoured, extra raspberries expertly stolen (by the Birthday Boy himself).
Back behind the camera for a bit and loving every minute.
My gorgeous girls played princess for the day.
My handsome boy reminded me of all there is to smile about.
And just when I thought he was all partied out from no nap and too much cake, he pushed through impossible levels of overtiredness, crashed again, and came out the other side of an unavoidable follow-up meltdown just in time for bed.
(The same cannot be said of Big Sis, but we'll pretend that her epic bedtime tantrum happened on a different night.)
Through it all, I still remember our very first meeting (two long-and-short years ago), when I marveled over every new and as-yet-unseen feature of his tiny body.
I'm still marveling today.
My dearest Michael,
You are too young now to have hope of remembering this day, so I promise to remember it for you. Your second birthday was truly a special one (for Mommy in particular). I am every day thankful for you; I only wish I always remembered how much.