Dear Grace & Claire-
Last Thursday was my favorite day of the year. December 26. While others were recovering from the holiday madhouse, we were celebrating the birth of two of my most favorite people.
It's hard to believe it has been four years, but it's also hard to remember a time without you. I have a vague memory of sleeping in till noon on the weekends and going to a movie whenever we wanted. And although there are days that I yearn for that freedom, I couldn't be any happier.
Four years ago, we drove through heavy snowfall to reach the hospital. Ten days later, we brought you home as snowflakes were flying all around us - the second wave of the 2009/2010 blizzard. Last week, we built a snowman with a carrot nose and eyes made of grapes and called him Frosty. I will always think of you when it snows.
There are days that I wish I could hold your tiny little baby hands and tickle your tiny little baby feet and snuggle all day long with your tiny little baby bodies nestled against me. I will always miss you as babies. That was such a magical time --- it was almost like the world stood still while the joy of the both of you was sinking in.
Even though I miss those days, I wouldn't trade you in for your younger versions. You are quite possibly the most hilarious people I've ever met. For instance, Grace, you are currently running around the house with your hair wild as orphan Annie's, wearing your Christmas jammies and a sparkly blue and purple tutu. Not an hour goes by that you girls don't make me smile or laugh.
Well, maybe the hour before bedtime. But that's a story for another day.
You're getting smarter by the day. Claire, you are a writing machine. You can write your name, Mom, Dad and as long as I spell it for you - just about any other word. The other day you were experimenting with your letters and wrote "tote." You weren't sure what you had spelled, but still I was impressed with your curiosity and determination.
Speaking of determination -- I can't wait to see you channel it into your future ambitions, but seriously, I wouldn't mind if you'd ease up in our day-to-day lives. Claire, you are especially "determined" or, more accurately, obstinate. You disagree with just about everything I say unless it's something you already wanted to do. You refuse to negotiate which means all forms of bribery and/or threats are out the door. If I added up all the time I spend trying to outsmart you, I could take a week-long vacation. Which does sound nice, by the way.
Grace, you are also determined, but can be negotiated with. Your favorite phrase is "maybe morrow?" which is your optimistic view that if we can't do it now, maybe we can later. Your respect for authority is much like my own -- you never, ever, ever want to be in trouble. In fact, lately, when you think you've done something wrong, your eyes fill up with tears and you start repeating, "But I don't want you to be mad at me." And usually, your transgressions aren't even really transgressions, but you're afraid to disappoint.
You both are growing like weeds. We rarely have fights over eating any more. We've reached a balance of us knowing what you like, encouraging you to try new things and you knowing you have to eat what we give you. Thank goodness. The food battles are ones that I'm glad we are no longer having.
When you were babies, someone told me that the challenges of parenting never get "easier" -- just different. As babies, we were exhausted from the physical demands of caring for two infants. As toddlers it was challenges with communicating and learning boundaries when none had existed before. And now, although those physical challenges are much easier, navigating our way through parenthood is certainly not "easy." We're trying to teach you right from wrong, the importance of being kind, sharing with others while maintaining our sanity as you throw your 32nd tantrum for the day.
Things we loved doing in 2013: Going to the zoo, the library, early morning snuggling, watching My Little Pony (7,000 times), going for walks in our neighborhood and our secret trail, spending time with family (especially many, many sleepovers with Bella and Cambri), going to preschool, playing at the park, swimming, sledding, going to the movie theatre, our weekly trips to Gambinos pizza and playing endless games of chase/tag/monsters.
It has been a truly joyous year with you two. And although you continue to challenge us daily, there isn't a day that goes by that we don't count our lucky stars to be on this journey with you both.
Love you to the moon and back,