Out of the mouths of babes

 

The Pacific Northwesterner in me secretly gets very excited whenever there’s a rainy day. Here in Mississippi the rain may be accompanied by temperatures upward of 90 degrees and enough humidity to make your hair curl the minute you walk outside, but I’ll take it- I have my hot tea in hand and my cinnamon candle burning.

As Leila grows into a rambunctious little toddler, I want to sit for a moment and take it all in.

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Her second birthday is fast approaching. Like every other mom out there, I’m dumbfounded at how fast this time has gone. Sometime during the last year, my sweet baby learned how to run and climb, began experimenting with language, and started to develop an even more pronounced personality.

This year has been chaotic in so many ways— an international move, followed by another move, and then a series of smaller, unanticipated moves— and to be honest I have struggled to balance appreciating this fleeting time with all of the struggles and changes that have come our way.

It gives me pause to realize that today, in our nowhere near settled, sleeping-on-an-air-mattress indefinitely state, is precious.

I don’t want to forget that last week, Leila suddenly became inseparable from her baby doll and stuffed unicorn (aptly dubbed “Neigh”), and that she considers their needs before her own. Baby often desires a walk outside, and Neigh must be fed frequently, his diet mostly consisting of pancakes and strawberries.

My German baby who had never seen the sun has developed a tolerance for playing outside in the Mississippi heat. She’s a daredevil who will climb anything and tends to run with the big kids. I’m fairly certain that her grandest aspiration at this point is to join the neighborhood boys in their nightly game of football, and she’ll watch them completely mesmerized for minutes (the longest she will stand still for anyone :)).

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She has discovered the joy of family and friends, and constantly asks to speak to her various aunts, uncles, and grandparents on the phone. She likes to remind me that it’s important to use “gentle hands” when we’re playing with smaller kids, and whenever we spend time with her friends she talkes about them for the rest of the day.

Her favorite foods include spaghetti, hummus, olives, berries of any variety, and pizza— which we make together, but doesn’t bake quite fast enough for her liking.

She loves to sing. Sometimes her songs are made up, other times they’re a mashup of nursery songs (“twinkle twinkle little star, HIJKMMMMP”).

What amazes me most is the level of resiliency she has shown me over the past year. As her mother, I long to give her stability and security, and it pains me that the past 8 months have been lived out of suitcases. But while I struggle to come to grips with each new change, Leila keeps bustling on. She doesn’t mind that we aren’t quite settled yet so long as I keep bringing her to the park and reading her favorite stories; she’s just as happy so long as we’re together.

That is the inspiration I need to follow suit and enjoy the moments we have today, suitcases and all.

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