Today this boy is Two.
Last night as I cleaned up the remains of the day, his dad called from upstairs “Hey, you want to say goodnight to your one year old one last time?”
That’s right, I thought. A one year old no more come this time tomorrow.
I hugged and kissed and then hugged and kissed one more time before tucking him into bed with four other animal creatures, or is it five now? I’ve lost count.
Then I slipped downstairs, with a few tears welling in my eyes.
Yet before you write this off as the sweet sentimental “my baby is growing up too fast” kind of story, let me just stop you right there. Because, what surprised me, and maybe what brought the tears on in the first place (ahh, mom guilt) was a wave of relief. One is done. We’re on to Two, thank the Lord.
I have many a thought on the last year we spent together. Soul searching, gut punching, deep thoughts by Rachel kind of thoughts. Thoughts I have been trying over and over for nearly 365 days to let loose but never quite gained the courage.
Soon. Soon I will share. I always do when I’m ready.
But today is about him. This boy and changing from One to Two.
And while I will have plenty of time to sort out my own personal thoughts on celebrating another year with my little guy, I think it’s only fair that today I not forget that this is his day, too. Especially today. He lived this year too. And I like to think if Elliott had the chance to tell you what being One was like, he would have quite the story to tell.
For if Elliott was asked, he would tell you One was about seeking his balance, gaining the strength, and learning to move forward. It was about braving the risky like climbing onto the windowsill, scaling the wall, jumping off the bed, and all with the confidence that it would be ok because someone was going to pick him up and kiss that hurt and let him go off to try it again.
One was about finding his voice, his very loud attention grabbing voice. Oh the joys of a shriek! Do you even know the freedom of discovering there is more to life than just crying and cooing? Are you even aware of the amazing power in letting someone know your opinion? If you shout, people listen. It is so delightful to be heard!
And beyond the shriek, One was about creating the words to add to that shriek. A scream might catch attention but a word communicates. At One, you get to talk about the things you like and the things you don’t. And if you are lucky enough to have a big sister, you have an example to repeat all kinds of words you have no idea the meaning of but when she says them it must be important so you do too.
Elliott would also tell you that One was about discovering the things that bring him joy. Like building tall towers with blocks, the only time he is at his most still. Or pushing a “choo choo bus” up and down a track, the longer the train the better, only as long as someone is nearby to fix the inevitable track malfunction (that does not bring happiness.) Or the joyful discovery of music. Music to dance to, to sing to, to create, and to listen to. Music came alive in him this year and I think he might tell you it was one of the best discoveries. For in music, he was his happiest.
One was about learning the food you love, and the foods you don’t. On the love list: Mac n cheese, sweet potatoes, any and all fruit, chicken and rice (always said together whether one or the other is present), and snacks. On the don’t list: vegetables that are not dipped into ranch, sitting at the table to eat food, not throwing food presented. Because, at One, who has time to sit and eat things that are not a snack? Running around and eating at free will is a much more joyful approach to life.
When you are One, there are some rough moments, too, of course, mostly involving a lot of rules and not wanting to follow any of them, as hinted at above. But I think to Elliott, these memories don’t make much of an impression. In fact, crying is just another way of communicating opinions, loudly, and communicating opinions loudly is a pretty great skill to have mastered. Check that goal off the list.
And those rough moments, they are always followed by good. For at One, the simple pleasures like your favorite song, finding a lost train, or an endless hug from mom, that can bring a smile that will stop anyone in their tracks and make them smile right back. That is power, right there. And finding that power at One is awesome.
For to Elliott, One was a pretty fantastic year. Milestones achieved, voice heard, new joys discovered. If we could all be as blessed to look back on our year and check these items off our list, I think we might discover we are living our best lives.
Congratulations Elliott. You did One, and you did it well. Now to move on and find out what Two has in store for you! I can’t wait.