You are the chocolate in my cake and the butter on my bread.
You are a month away from turning 1 and 3, constantly changing, growing, moving, speaking, thinking.
Your milestones are built on routine and care.
You are full of glory, made in the image of God.
You are full of wind and frustration.
You reach and still can’t get things. You speak and we correct your speech. You climb and we pull you down.
You are still figuring out where the boundary lines are drawn.
You scream your desires into our days, always wanting, wanting, wanting, not always understanding when we say no.
You want to taste the batter and lick the spoon. Your eyes light up when sweetness hits your tongue.
You think mangoes are heaven.
You know that the world is broken every time something hurts, and this we can’t explain until you’re older.
Your toddlerhood is part wonder, part terror. It is like loving a tornado.
Your babyhood is stretching, growing muscle and grace, approaching girlhood. You watch the way things work. You learn seemingly without effort.
You are not a job. Or a skill we can become good at. Some days everyone fails.
Raising you is like raising up a house from an endless pile of boards and nails, windows and doors. It requires tools we don’t always know how to use, skills we don’t yet have. It is repetition, repetition, repetition.
Sometimes things fall and break.
Sometimes we all have to start over, gathering up the pieces from the sawdusted floor.
And some days we hang a door on the first try, wondering at the ease.
You are gracious with our efforts. You grow. Take shape. Learn how to open and close things on your own. Learn how to occupy yourself, live within the frame of your body.
Still, we want you to be more than a body, a structure, pretty lashes and a roof.
We want you to become the definition of home.
Haven to those around you.
So we keep building. Hammering. Hollering. Trading tools.
You are labor and love, and we learn that these two things must coexist.
That love without labor has no depth.
That labor without love cannot produce beautiful things.
That cake needs chocolate, and bread needs butter,
and we need you
to round off all the sharpness in the world.