Here's something I journaled one day after taking the girls to the park in Milton, FL. Gabe was just a few months old...I don't think I'll ever forget this moment.
Today as you were eagerly running to your favorite slide at the park you were met with some worrisome company: a two year old boy. His chubby little arms flailed as he yelled "NO!" and tossed sand into your big blue eyes. If you ever become a mother you will know how this tugs at the most sensitive heartstring known to man and not because you got sand in your eyes, but because your feelings were hurt. You are such a fiesty little soul though...refused to show any tears. You froze right in your tracks, blinked, retorted "YOU no!" then quickly ran to my side, hugged my leg and sucked on your little thumb. You didn't want to cry, but I knew tears weren't far behind those enormous blue eyes of yours. Those eyes Ava...oh my God your eyes. Everywhere I go people stop me to talk about how gorgeous your eyes are...the shade of blue, the frame of dark eyelashes...but I know the real beauty of those eyes. The way they get teary when Cinderella's stepsisters tear her dress apart, or how they dance and sparkle whenever your Dad comes home from work, the flash of determination they get when you insist on doing it "ME-self!''...all the ways they express the beautiful things that are uniquely you; my fiesty little girl who is always in a rush. You do everything mach 10...you are always talking, and jumping, and fiddling with toys, and hugging, and laughing--leaving tupperware, sippy cups, and toys in your wake...and you do it all so darn fast. You grow up fast too. How can this sticky, stubborn toddler be that soft, warm newborn I held at the naval hospital just days ago? Okay, two years ago. Wow. This lump in my throat, the tension in my stomach, reminds me that I can't keep you safe and content in my arms anymore. You're not a newborn. Even scarier is the realization that it won't be long until I see pride holding back tears when kids tease you, or leave you out, or break your heart...and I'll wish that you were 23months old again...a time when a few dozen readings of "Goodnight Moon" could fix everything.