(This is an idea I'm stealing from my best childhood friend... recently become mother of her fifth! I had this ready to post on Ben's birthday, but we've been having serious internet issues... grace, grace, grace!)
You are two years old today! Happy Birthday to my bouncing ball of joy! You light up our family, Ben. After you were born, your first two days of life were so sleepy and peaceful, I thought you were going to be a really mellow kid. And then you woke up. And our life brightened up and came alive with all sorts of new adventures!
You are a little climbing monkey! Your body has to be constantly in motion when you’re awake. I’ve found you on top of the kitchen table, on top of the couch, up on a high window sill, on the back of the toilet, and climbing up every fence and pile of wood or dirt or rocks you can find outside. I think you’ll be a great rock-climber or mountain climber when you’re older.
But you also contain your energy when you’re really interested in mastering a skill. You can really focus in on something and concentrate for a surprisingly long period of time. You’re growing up so fast… the only time you look like a baby now is when you’re sucking your thumb, which you only do when you’re holding your blue “bee-deh” (blanket) - which you only get at sleep-time.
My favorite thing about you right now is your grin - your real one: it’s amazing. (You have a fake, squinty-eyed one that’s hilarious too.) It’s like electricity lighting up your body from inside, shooting out your eyes and your smile - you’re just giddy with excitement. You have this giggle that goes with it: a high-pitched shriek with shoulders hunched, then barely-hold-it-in squeaks of excitement with eyes sparkling - LIFE is just SO EXCITING!!
You are so people-focused and others-aware, Ben. Whenever there’s something good to eat being passed around, you don’t just take one for yourself, you always think of your brother right away. “Ah-gookee? Ah-gookee?” And after I give you a cookie, you immediately say, “Ah-Will? Ah-Will?” and hold your other hand out for one to take to Will. You gravitate to babies and small children and want to hold their hand and take them over to play with whatever you’re doing.
And you are such a ham! You love suspense and an interactive audience. You wait for a---ges, grinning secretly with the blanket over your head, before popping out to say “Peek-a-boo!” You do totally goofy, zany facial expressions whenever anyone gives you attention.
Best of all, you’re already learning about how much Jesus loves you. The first song you sang on your own was “DEE ah WAH, DEE ah WAH…” (“Deep & Wide”) You started singing it in the stroller all by yourself out of the blue this summer, after learning it at a retreat (Thanks, Miss Rachel!). Now you can sing “Jesus loves me, this I know” too. Before we eat, you squinch your eyes shut, put down your fork, bow your head and hold out your hands to thank Jesus. If we forget, you shout, “Say gace! Say gace!” I love how you pray for all your friends at night before you go to sleep. May you always know how wide and deep is Jesus’ love for you, Benjamin, and may you always be this loving towards others.
I love how cuddly you are; you love to snuggle into my lap to read a book, or crawl under my blanket to snuggle with me when you come in to wake me up after naptime. I love it when you pull my cheek close and give me a big fat kiss goodnight that I have to wipe off afterwards. We are thrilled to have you in our family, Benjamin Timothy Broughton. There is no one else like you on this entire planet, and WE get to watch you grow up and show you how to love Jesus. I’m so thankful for you, and I’m so glad Jesus picked me to be your Mommy.