Joy’s been talking about her birthday for the past two weeks. I’m not sure she actually knows what a birthday really is, or how many two is, or how to even sing all of the lyrics to Happy Birthday, but regardless – she’s excited. She holds up her fingers and says “TWO!” in a way that made me as excited to hold up thirty-two fingers and yell “THIRTY-TWO!“.

I remember the excitement of being pregnant and not knowing what to expect. I wasn’t sure what exactly our daughter would be like, but I imagined she’d have dark brown eyes and hair just like her mommy. Well, my girl has the most beautiful blue eyes I’ve ever seen. They’re blue when the sky is bright. They’re green in her cargo jacket, and they’re full or more curiosity, wonder, and…. hesitation than I would have ever guessed. She’s got the goofiness of her father and the stubbornness of her mother. She’s quick to kiss her clock good morning, and to snuggle into my shoulder at night for one last “tinkle tinkle” song before bed.

My girl is the kind of girl who waits to scope out the scene before rushing in to play, but she knows the word “Share” and is generous when she wants to be. She’ll house macaroni-and-cheese and chews on a lollipop more than she licks it. She lights up when I pick her up from day care, often taking out whoever is in her way to get to her mama. She catches on to whatever is funny and repeats it for a laugh. She tucks in her baby dolls, reads books naked on the potty, and stands up and pees in the corner instead. She refers to animals by the sounds they make and has the meanest monster “Rawrrhhhh!!” you ever wanted to see out of a blonde two-year-old with piggy tails and flip flops.

In the matter of two years I’ve realized that there’s a lot more to the world than myself. There’s someone to care for like nothing I’ve ever loved before, and a person who helps me to strive to be the best person I can be. She’s made me delete Facebook and Gmail from my phone and learn to separate from my business a little more. She’s got me to swing upside-down from the swingset by my knees and laugh with her while my hair drags on the ground. She comes to me to kiss her booboos, and she knows where is on her body.

Happy Birthday, little girl. You truly are my Joy.

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