Dear Olivia & Alex
It’s been a really long time since I’ve written you guys a letter. Life has been kind of floating by and I think part of me was wondering how much I should share and how much should be private.
The truth is, I’ve missed writing you guys these letters. It’s a good chance for me to stop and think about the things that have been going on in our lives, the funny things you guys do and say, and what I don’t want to forget. I know our families appreciate being able to catch up with you guys too, and it forces me to be on the ball with taking regular pictures of the two of you. So, I’m going to get back to doing these. I hope one day you both enjoy reading through them and having this snapshot of your life growing up.
Olivia, I’m going to start with you since you’re the oldest.
You’re 6 1/2 now. That half seems important to me for some reason. Maybe it’s that there are so many times that I look at you now and realize that any ounce of baby girl is gone. You are all Little Miss now. It’s not just that you’re physically growing up, it’s that everything about you is growing up. I look at you and see how tall you’re getting, how your face is more angular and beautiful, and how you move differently. The awkwardness of toddling around is gone. In fact, you have more grace and rhythm than any kid your age that I know of.
You just finished the first quarter at school. You’re loving your new school. You keep amazing us. If you were back in North America you would only be in the early stages of grade one just because of your age, but here you are almost finished grade two because you love school so much and are just plowing through your work. Your report card was amazing. You got on the Honor Role. At the parent/teacher meeting both of your teachers just kept telling me how well you’re doing, that you love learning, and that you are so respectful of their authority. We’re so proud of you!
About a month ago you surprised me one night at bedtime by taking over the reading of the story. Not only were you reading, you were reading fast and hardly stumbling over the words. It was a fun surprise for Daddy when he got home from his trip to California. Now you take turns reading Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator with him. You soak up words like a sponge, and that makes us so happy because we have always hoped our kids would have the same love for reading that we do.
Along with reading, you’ve recently gotten into writing stories. Your first major work was a book about pirates and treasure. I love that about you. You might love princesses, but you wanted to write about finding treasure.
You’re a great big sister to Alex and recently you’ve taken on the task of teaching him, whether it’s his alphabet, how to read, or numbers. I’m not sure how much he’s learning, but he enjoys the attention and spending time with you. It’s fun for me to watch because I remember hours passed with doing the same thing to Uncle Darren when we were kids.
You also like to lead Alex on great adventures. It’s very normal for you guys to go into your room and come out weighed down by dress up clothes and bags full of treasures, and tell Daddy and I that you’re off to France or Africa, and out the door you go. You come back hours later and tell us all about your trip. You guys are both so creative and have huge imaginations.
You’re at such a fun stage right now, and I’m so grateful that Daddy and I get to be part of this.
Alex, you are an amazing little man. Just the other night Daddy and I were talking about the fact that daily you say or do things that just leave us amazed. I’ve perfected a poker face at meal times because I know that if I busted out laughing at the things you say and the stories you tell you would probably take it the wrong way. It’s so hard though, especially because you’re the most enthusiastic kid I’ve ever met. Your list of adjectives for any subject is amazingly long. Daily we hear you say things like, “That’s amazing! That’s so awesome! WOW! That’s fabulous!” And you mean it sincerely every. single. time.
You love food, and again, because you’re really excited about everything, you get excited about eating. You like to run through the house yelling that it’s meal time, just in case someone in our 900 square foot space didn’t hear me call. We can always tell when you like something because you make happy eating noises while you chow down. It doesn’t matter if you’re eating a snack by yourself or a meal with a crowd, if you like it we hear it – “Mmmm, nomm, mmm, nom.” You’ve also started showing funny little preferences for things, like having a glass of milk with your crackers so you can dip them, or eating half a bottle of ketchup at a single sitting because you love it so much. The rest of the meal is simply a vessel for the ketchup to get in your belly.
You’re imagination has really taken off in the past couple of months, and you’ve started telling elaborate stories while playing on your own. The key players in your adventures have very exciting lives with lots of car crashes and conversations. You love going on adventures with Olivia, you love riding your bike, and you love working in the work yard with the guys. Pretty much your life is this amazing mix of awesomeness every day.
I think the best part of this stage for your Dad and I is seeing this amazing little person you’re becoming. He was kind of afraid you would be this intense kid like he was when he was your age, but you’ve been an utter delight. Yes, you have your normal toddler moments, but for the most part you are a constant, happy surprise and a reminder that maybe life isn’t so bad after all. I think you may have inherited my optimism. Just a teeny bit ;)
I mentioned that when I look at your sister I find myself realizing that she’s no longer little. Well, when I look at you and hold you my heart kind of breaks a bit. I’m pretty sure every Mom goes through this when they hold their youngest child. It’s that realization that every day gets us closer to saying good-bye to this stage. While there are wonderful things about that (um, no more diapers!!!) there are sad things too. I want to bottle every sweet, enthusiastic thing you say. I want to snuggle you until you pop. I want to remember how your soft skin feels first thing in the morning, and how your hair smells before you’ve had a chance to get covered in sweat and dirt. I want to savor every time that you crawl in my lap, nuzzle your head into my collarbone the way you do and tuck yourself into me because I see how fast you’re growing and I know it’s only a matter of time until you won’t fit like that anymore. Probably next week with the way you’re growing. I look at you standing next to your Dad, and at the age of 3 you’re already half his size.
This is hard because while I want to freeze you, there are so many things I want to know about you and your sister. I am so excited to see who you two will become as you grow up. I’m excited because so far we really, really like who you both are, and we can only imaging how much better that’s going to get as the years go by. I know there are hard times coming because that’s part of growing up and parenting, but you’re both amazing little people. I can’t help but think you’ll be amazing big people.
Alex & Olivia, I love you so much.