Once a week, Annabel and I have most of a day all alone while everyone else adventures elsewhere. In the winter, they head to the slopes, and this time of year, to the pool. I treasure our day together and do everything in my power to free the time of any work or chores or other obligation. Instead, I follow her. For the sweet pea who is so often following everyone else, doing her best to keep up (rather impressively, I might add), and so often being told by someone older, bigger, louder what to do.....she doesn't hesitate for a moment when the time is her own. She has ideas, plenty of them, and the incredibly soft and sweet but most definitely clear voice with which to make them known. She's a chatty one, talking - and singing - more than any of my other babes did at this age. "let's go to lake Mama. Me walk myself Mama. Mama hold mine shoes. No hat pleeeeaaase." As we walk, she swings her arms enthusiastically and each step is placed so firmly on the ground that I can hear it. She knows precisely where she's going and how to get there. Alone, just the two of us, me following her, I see the prideful grin peeking out of the corner of her mouth as she tries to keep a straight face so as to be taken seriously in her role as the leader. Eventually, she can't hide it any longer and breaks out into a giggle. "Funny. My love you Mama." she says.
(Her dress is one I made for Adelaide's second birthday, and wrote about here.)
We did a little celebrating this weekend, as Annabel turns two today. Just a few of us - she isn't a fan of big crowds, but oh, she loves her big crowd of siblings, who dote upon her, love her up, and help her out whether she asks for it or not. It is inevitable that I worry once in a while about what she might be missing, being that we're spread in our parenting energies by the needs of five little ones. Unlike her oldest brother, she doesn't have years of time alone with us. She has one day a week, she has bedtimes, she has moments here and moments there. It is quite different. But I am reminded so often, at her little birthday party especially, of what more she has. Not just two parents, but in essence, six people looking out for her. So many people right nearby who will read to her, give her a lift, help her get something out of reach, and give a kiss when she falls down. She runs to each of us for comfort - everywhere she looks, there's love. And for that...well, for that...I'd say she's a blessed little one. Just as blessed as we are to love her, of course. Two years old. Oh my.