You turned two on Monday! Who let that happen?! I look at you now and realize my baby is gone. She has been replaced by this beautiful, smart, funny little girl. You are tall, and you have blonde hair. You have one green eye and one blue. You love your blanket (blang-da), Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Daddy and Mommy, reading books, and playing pretend. You like to “help” me cook and clean, take care of your baby doll, and build tall towers. You love our friends (frans!) in Chicago. We have intentionally lived in a community of people who love us and love you, and it’s clear you love them too.
You are a thinker, my dear girl. You are not the child that runs wild and uninhibited when we go to the park or when you are with other kids your age. You like to stand back and observe quietly. You watch other kids, sometimes with worry and concern. I joke you are the “little mommy.” When you decide to join in on things you are cautious. You would much rather investigate the nuts and bolts holding the jungle gym together than play on it. You are cautious of people and grown ups. You like to stay with Mom and Dad until you know the outsider is a “fran.” Once you warm up though you are goofy and sweet. You like to show people all your toys and discoveries. You like to giggle and play jokes. Your latest joke: you hide your hand in your sleeve and say, “Oh no!” and we ask where your hand went and you slowly reveal it and crack up. I love your interesting personality. While you look a lot like me, your behavior reminds me of Daddy- which is maybe another reason I love you so much.
The end of last year brought about a lot of changes for our family. Mommy got a new job. I’m still a teacher, but I am teaching in Gigi’s town where Mommy grew up. I drive 100 miles a day, but I like the job a lot. Three days a week, you come with me, and while I’m at work, you play at Gigi’s house. You LOVE playing at Gigi and Papa’s. You have so much fun there. You play with lots of toys, and when the weather is warm, you play in the little pool Gigi sets up for you in the backyard. Two days a week, you go to our friends’ house to play while Mommy and Daddy are at work. The Jenkins love having you. You play with Ruth all day, and sometimes you don’t want to leave you have so much fun.
I love you so much, Eloise. You are an amazing little girl. You have changed so much of our lives in the past 2 years and 9 months. I hope one day you realize what a difference you made in our world, and how important you are. Before you were born, your existence called your father and I to change, and we are so thankful we answered. You are a symbol of God’s grace, little one, in the lives of two people very undeserving of a gift like you. It’s often said that people realize how much their parents love them when they grow up and have children themselves. I hope you grow up and experience the love we have for you with your children, but I hope much sooner than motherhood do you understand the depth at which you are loved because we have intentionally shown you everyday with our words and actions. I hope one day you become a mother and not realize my love for you, but use it as an example because you’ve known it for so long. You are loved, Eloise. We hope you know that truth everyday.