I'm sitting down to write this on the eve of your birthday sweet one. At this time two years ago on this day, i had just walked in the doors of the hospital - completely not in labour but ready to meet the tiny human I'd been waiting for since I could dream of having children.
Everyone who meets June says the same thing: she is sweetness. When she was born Mike's first thought was "she looks like my granny." Granny Kelly is 103 and the sweetest lady you've ever met, so I'm pretty sure that first instinctive thought hit the nail on the head. The first year of June's life we played the Tupelo Honey Van Morrison album a million and two times because there was so much sweetness in our house. She hasn't changed in year two, if anything now that she can talk life with June has only gotten sweeter because now we know what she's thinking. She frequently rubs my arms if I'm cuddling with her and lets me know if I feel cold, and just this morning as I was giving her new sister a bath and she started wailing she reached out her hand, put it on her bare belly in the water and said "It's ok baby sister, juney's here."
She is the most determined little thing you'll meet. She spent her first six months charging through physical milestones.... letting everyone know that you can crawl before you can sit if that's what you'd prefer. Now she calls herself "tall juney" when she stands on her stool to get something "by juney's own self." She does most things by juney's own self these days and it makes me equal parts bursting with pride, and just wanting to slow things down already.
The way she giggles when you play chase around, the way she looks back over her shoulder as she heads into the playground saying "mama - chase around!! Chase around Juney." And it makes me so happy I have legs and can take off after her in that instant. I think I would honestly go anywhere she asked me because my heart leaps when were together and she tells me about her plans.
"Build a train set 'gether" "Build a tower 'gether." "Play Mr. Puppet with Juney, mama": I want to sear these requests in my heart and mind because I know I won't always be your favourite playmate June. I just need the world to know how happy it makes me that I get to be your mom and that playing with you fulltime is what I get to do with my days. I am so so grateful that I get to be with you and that you are here spending time with me.
And the way she has embraced her role as a new big sister is incredible to watch. She is so caring and attentive - not one diaper change for "baby sister Flora" can happen without Juney. She frantically runs to her bathroom each time and grabs her trusty bathroom stool so that she can stand beside me at the table - she grabs the bum cream and insists on dolling out a smear (getting everything messy and sticky in the process but I don't care I'm just happy she wants to help). Flora is the first person she asks about in the morning now and I'm careful to not cast a roll of "big sister" onto June because I'm not entirely ready for that for her just yet; but either way I think she's stepping up into it naturally.
June likes noodles, running down hills at the park with her arms spread out like an airplane, ponytails in her hair, her babysitter Sheena and painting. She will dance to regge just like her daddy taught her, and talks pretty much constantly the entire car trip unless she's passed out from exhaustion (likely caused by talking.) She gives Clifford hugs all day long, insists on putting on her shoes herself, and finds great joy in pulling the wagon through the park. Her favourite toy is "Juney's Baby" - a plastic doll with a soft body that goes basically everywhere with her. At night she talks to her animal friends in her crib until she falls asleep and she always gives us trouble when trying to brush her back teeth at night. She thinks everyone who calls is Nannie and Papa and reminds me that Papa taught her how to blink and that the room beside her's is "Nannie's Room."
She is loving, pensive, careful, stubborn (in the best way possible!), determined and smart. Her smile melts my heart and her daddy's heart and I love the way that she insists on helping with everything. Juney "helpy-bear" moves her tower stool around the kitchen and "helps" in more ways then I can count each day. She is making my heart grow with patience and is helping me to slow down and enjoy small things like pouring ingredients, swiffing our floors, or tucking ourselves together comfortably onto the couch to watch a show. She arranges the pillows just so and it really is the most comfortable half and hour you'll spend; watching a show with Juney. She has a spot in the middle of the bed that is *Her Spot* and she tucks herself into that spot every night for stories. I love reading to her. I love watching her eyes follow the story across the pages. I love being able to see her learn and grow.
I have a feeling these birthdays are only going to get harder and harder and yet more and more special for me as a mother; it seems fitting that we want so much for our kids to change and learn and meet new goals... because otherwise we wouldn't be able to cope. I honestly can't believe you are two my Juney. Thank-you for two of the most wonderful (tiring!) and rewarding years - I love you so much.