Dear Arlo,

Truth be told, I've been putting off typing this out for a few reasons. It feels a little weird writing this to you now. Now that you are saying things and understanding what Daddy and I say to you. But I want to remember how you were at this age, because I know that we will forget all of the little details, the ones that really make watching you grow up so fun. The other reason for my procrastination is that I simply can't come to terms with the fact that you are TWO. If you have children someday, you will understand when I say that time doesn't play by the rules when you're a parent. Days turn into weeks faster, weeks into months and suddenly your "baby" is 30 and you can't remember how the hell that happened (at least I'm assuming).

But enough of my blubbering and blabbering. This is about YOU! You are fiercely independent and stubborn.. at first I hoped it was normal toddler 'tude, but we are way passed that now.  You do what you want, when you want and no one will tell you different. Though you test our patience and sanity daily, every part of me hopes that you continue to exert your power and stand up for what you want and believe in. I have a good feeling that nothing will ever stop you.

 You're trying out lots of words now, and you've recently started adding an "SH" sound in replace of your S's. For example, YES is now YESHH. Your Dad and I think it's hilarious and adorable and a little bit odd, but we'll roll with it. You really like to wear shoes/hats/jackets/whatever you can find lying around the house. On any given day you can be found in just a diaper and whatever pair of shoes you forced me to put on you... usually a pair that is two sizes too small. You're a picky eater, you love music and dancing, you entertain us with a hearty fake chuckle whenever you feel it's appropriate. You get bribed with M&M's way too frequently. You love playing outside, painting and drawing (usually on carpet or furniture). When you get mad, you tense up your whole body, clench your teeth and shake. It's hard not to laugh at you every time you do it. Your Papa is currently your favorite person ever.

When I get right down to it kiddo, I'm constantly teetering between two fears. The first being that we are going to royally screw you up. I can't help but look towards the future and wonder who you'll grow to be. If you'll be a well rounded human being who forgives her parents for their flaws and loves them unconditionally no matter how many M&M's they bribed you with as a child. ( God I hope so.) The second fear is that I'll forget. I'll forget to completely immerse myself in each day with you. That I'll forget to slow down and enjoy and remember and relish in this time. Because as they say, you don't get it back. So again, If 16 or 21 or 35 year old Arlo is reading this some day, these are my letters to you. So I can remind myself each year that time flies and to pay attention, and for you. So you know what an honor it has been to be your Mama, from the moment they placed you in my arms. 

Happy Birthday Arlo Eloise Balash. 

(Dear Arlo | one year )