I scolded you, last night, for dumping a bottle of blue Powerade onto the rug. It's your horrible thing, the dumping, and my first experience with a child's taking it upon himself to free anything (liquid or solid) he can from a container.
Anyway, when I fussed and you looked up at me, it was with Grandma B.'s eyes. I'd never recognized them in you, before: not like that. It took my breath. I blinked back tears, stood up quickly and walked into the kitchen so as to distract myself and avoid an ugly cry for which I had no energy.
You're two years old, now: old enough that I can say with certainty that you're not the little boy I dreamed, the one for whom I thought I was trying all those years. I know you're not him because I can still see him so clearly; he looks exactly like your dad but with Cade's (Papaw's, my) nearly black hair. Maybe he's the baby I lost. I'm thankful for the vision of that little boy because it sparked my efforts to bring you here. I would not trade you for him. I would not trade you for anyone.
I realize--when I compare your first two years with the first two years of your siblings--I regret much less. I've learned the hard way: nothing's guaranteed. Just because a person wants a healthy baby doesn't mean she'll get (or keep) one. And I'm starting to figure out, I think, just how quickly it all goes. I've soaked up your life, and I'm almost proud of how spoiled (loved) you are. I haven't tried to wean or sleep-train you, yet. "Mama's baby," I've taught you to say, and yes.
You're not as verbal as your sisters were at your age, but you're learning new words all the time, and you know exactly what's going on. I love to watch you pray, how you pinch your eyes closed as hard as you can and spring them open just in time. "Amen!" you call out with a grin. You let us know when you're scared, when you want a gummy (fruit snack), when you don't think we're funny. Over and over, you look at me and say: "I love you."
Sometimes I wonder who you'll grow to be, and sometimes I think I know. I doubt you'll lose your love for music, balls, animals, or water. I wish Grandma would give me her opinion on this subject and so many others. I wish, on this autumn day, she were here. Then I catch your eye and remember she is: that she's well inside both you and me.
I love you so much.