You're two. Stop growing.

I read this CaringBridge entry a couple of days ago. It was written the evening of the day we left the hospital, coming home empty handed while our brand new baby girl slept in an incubator 15 minutes away with tubes down her throat...

This is her in those days:

And this is her almost two weeks ago, on her SECOND birthday:

Being the most sentimental person alive, you can imagine what these last few weeks have been like in my head...

But with the craze of Christmas, family visits and adding another child to our family all within one month of this girl's big day, I haven't had the opportunity to sit down and write about it... So. Both babies are sleeping, and this is my chance... Enjoy my mushy gushy sentiment, world!

Sweet TWO year old Mercy,

Ugh. I'm already crying.

Where do I even start? Watching you grow has made me grow, seeing bits of your precious personality emerge over the course of the last two years has been one of the best adventures of my life. Every day we see new little quirks and pieces of who you are now and who you are becoming. The journey we have been on with you has been more blessed than I could ever have imagined.

One of your nurses in the NICU told us a story one afternoon your daddy and I were visiting. She told us about how you FLIPPED your three pound little body over all on your own. She watched you do it. You were on your belly and you just stretched one of your little legs and somehow turned yourself over. You knew what you wanted.... That's what she told us that day. You know what you want... and you're gonna get it.

When I look at that picture of you in the NICU I don't even see a glimpse of who you are today, physically speaking... but when I remember those little bits of your personality coming out even in those teensy tiny days, I see so much of you. Girl, you KNOW what you want. In this house, that doesn't mean you're always gonna get what you want, but just like in the days of flipping yourself over and extubating yourself in your isolette, you have a strong opinion about what is right for you, and you are going to do your best to get it. That includes the sweetest, most pitiful crocodile tears, hugs, kisses, belly laughs, and the occasional tantrum.... Oh, you try your hardest, don't you? The best part is seeing your understanding grow. On one hand you know what you want, and on the other hand you trust your daddy and I very much to know what's right... and THAT is the greatest compliment.

I remember another day we visited you. As we approached your isolette, we just started giggling. You had wiggled your way completely off of the rolled up blanket keeping you in place. You were tucked all the way at the end of your little bed and as comfortable as ever. We used to just watch you wiggle and kick your little legs. You were so active even when you were so tiny. When we brought you home and would snuggle with you on the couch, you always found a way to wiggle your little body in the strangest positions. Always moving...

...and you're still always moving! My very favorite thing you do right now is run through the house yelling over and over, "I'm running! I'm running! I'm running!" Oh my goodness, I hope you still do that when you're 16. Please never stop dancing in the living room and spinning in circles in the kitchen, don't ever stop wiggling your little booty in the air when you're sound asleep. Don't grow out of peekaboo and eskimo kisses, the most adorable hide and seek I've ever played or singing Ariel and Scuttle ALL. DAY. LONG.

Watching you become YOU has been such a privilege. Seeing bits of me in you has made my heart complete. Watching you fearlessly reach for worms, frogs and lizards makes my heart happier than you'll ever know! Snuggling on the couch for some Disney classics is one of your very favorite things, and mine too, can we snuggle all day in front of the Lion King, The Little Mermaid and Aladdin for the rest of our lives? Please? I love when your hands get dirty and you stop what you're doing to stare at them. You stare at them in completely still silence until somebody cleans them or gives you something to clean them with. Girl, you get that from me. And I'm sorry for that one... but I also love it a little. ;)

Seeing bits of your daddy in you makes me fall in love with both of you more and more every day. Watching you sit on his lap and watch hours of football brings so much joy to my heart. You know a Clemson Tiger Paw and a Saints Fleur de Lis from a mile away, and your daddy couldn't be prouder. The joy in your eyes when you discovered your football decorated birthday party was too much. Your passion, endless energy, remarkable memory, attention to detail, you are your daddy's girl in so many ways.

I know the Lord is molding you into His image daily. Your two year old personality is just a tiny glimpse of who you are becoming, and that makes me so excited to know the woman you will be one day. Some of these things you got from us... your love of critters, mermaids, football... Even more fun has been seeing little bits of YOU come out. Pieces of the little girl He is growing you into.  YOU have so much love in your heart and such a desire to share that love and serve your friends and family in the sweetest two year old ways. Whether it's consoling your baby brother by bringing him your favorite toys, recognizing when any of us are upset and giving us the sweetest hugs and pats on the back, sharing your toys and presents with friends who visit, or the level of deep sadness you feel when anyone you love leaves our home, you are always sharing your heart and that is one of your most precious attributes.

You're getting so big, and even though I have banished the phrase "I can't wait" from my vocabulary, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited to see how you'll grow and what you'll be like a year from now. Each stage has been more fun and amazing than the last. I can't imagine life being more awesome than it is today, but I'm looking forward to seeing what this next year has in store for our little family of four! Thank you, my sweet Mercy girl, for physically defining what mercy is in your first days and continually reminding us of the grace we've been given in getting to be your mommy and daddy. We couldn't be more blessed and we couldn't love you more.

But for now, let's go ahead and stay two forever, ok?

Thanks. Love you.
--Your Mommy