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A Letter to My Son on His 2nd Birthday

Sarah Preston Gorenstein

Dear Preston,

So, here we are, another year later—and today’s your birthday. The second year was so much different than the first. By the time you turned one, you weren’t walking, much less doing more than army crawling. But all that changed just before you turned 18 months—you became an Olympic speed crawler, and before we knew it you were walking, letting yourself into all of our rooms, reaching on top of our counters, dunking basketballs, throwing tennis balls for Barkley to fetch, and getting into all kinds of trouble, including but not limited to bumping your gorgeous (albeit somewhat large) forehead at every turn. You were the baby who didn’t move a muscle—now you’re the toddler who won’t sit still. Funny how fast things change…

What hasn’t changed? You are still the most talkative person I’ve ever known. Not the most talkative kid—no, the most talkative human being on the planet. You go to sleep talking, and you wake up finishing the conversation you started—not that we understand 50 percent of what you’re saying. An "inside voice" is not in your wheelhouse yet (we're working on it). Your level of excitement is like nothing I have ever witnessed—your dad and I, as well as everyone who knows you, get a very big kick out of it. When you get excited about something—like pancakes, which you eat every other morning for breakfast—you squeal with joy, as if it's the first time you've tasted them. Your excitement over these everyday things vibrates from your fingers down to your toes.

Around 22 months, the tantrums went into full effect, but that was to be expected. Let’s just say, you know what you want, and when and how you want it. You are very authoritative and communicative—two traits that will make you a great leader in whatever field you decide to have a career in. Even when it gets difficult at times (for us), because you’re still too young to clearly articulate your wants and needs, but old enough to put your foot down (among other things) when you’re not getting them fulfilled, your dad and I are able to take a step back and laugh (most of the time). Laughter is the only way sometimes…

Karma is a funny thing, and I’m pretty sure we both had this coming, but I digress...

You are one of a kind, Preston—and I’m not just saying that because you’re my son. You are so much fun to be around; your passion for life is contagious. Take, for example, your love of the outdoors—you spend your summer days at the park across the street from our house, which is where we had your birthday party yesterday. It turned out perfect in every way, and you were so happy to see all your friends and family there, everyone you love so much. The usual excitement you get being at the park was enhanced ten-fold when you saw your grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends there. Nothing could've made me happier.

We call you Mayor of the Park, and it’s not a joke. You are. Everyone there knows you. As much as you love Yo Gabba Gabba! and the movie Cars, there’s no place you’d rather be than outside, at the park, or taking walks around the neighborhood with Barkley, as long you’re “Outside? Outside? Ouuutsiiiiide!” I hope the inevitable interest in video games when you’re older doesn’t change this about you. (You already know how to navigate your way around an iPad, which will be obsolete by the time you read this.)

You are such an independent little guy: We no longer feed you—you insist on feeding yourself. We no longer have to brush your teeth for you—you insist on brushing your own teeth, with your own toothbrush(es) (as well as ours, too). And now you’re even starting to read books on your own—that place at Harvard we reserved for you last year is still open.

I am the luckiest and proudest mom of the most beautiful and hilarious two-year-old. Everything I do in life, I do for you. (Please remember that the next time you throw a fit, or a toy car at my head.) There will be times in your life that you will probably hate me for nudging you or keeping you from doing something you want but please know that I have the best intentions; my job as your mom is to protect you and keep you safe.

My wish for your birthday is that you will stay as sweet as you are today, and happy and healthy always.

Happy second birthday, my delicious baby boy—I love you more than you’ll ever truly know.