Just before my daughter turned one, I created her an email account. Why, you may ask, does a one-year-old need an email account? Firstly, because if I don't claim her name on gmail now before the name Sloane gets too popular, she'll have to use some weird alphanumerical string as an email address one day. And second, because this inbox isn't being used for outbound communication just yet. It was created to receive memories.
Every year, we plan to send Sloane an email on her birthday, recounting the year that's passed and documenting the details of who she is in this moment in time that we may otherwise come to forget. And when she's old enough, we'll gift it all to her. And she'll be able to become intimately familiar with who she's been through the eyes of her adoring family.
To my darling Sloane,
You are TWO! And right before my eyes you've transformed from a curious baby into a confident little girl. I've told you this before and I will tell you again forever - watching you grow has been the greatest joy of my life. And this year was FULL of joy.
When I stop and think of all that you've learned and achieved in this last year, it makes mama feel lazy. You've learned to walk, talk, sing, dance, jump, climb, cook, draw, pedal your bike, ride a horse, shoot a basketball, and so much more. You coined the Sloane shimmy and have perfected your red carpet pose. We are blown away by your strength, smarts and tenacity, and how mature you suddenly seem to be.
You have quite the sense of humor. You love to laugh and make us laugh, and have a very knowing devilish grin that you flash at all the right times. You're athletic and active, love your gym classes and have learned balance, strength and picking yourself up to try again. You've been showing us your musicality and your love of singing and dancing. You've developed an obsession with dresses and jewelry, but that doesn't compromise your almost equal love of rocks, sticks and dirt. But those obsessions do not compare to your complete infatuation with horses. You love horses. Talking about horses, seeing horses, riding horses and watching horses. "Sloanie ride" is your favorite request, so we've found many opportunities to get you on a horse, and though you look very serious while riding, you never want to get off. Looks like we may have an equestrian on our hands!
Your vocabulary is incredible, and I can have full conversations with you now. In fact, you talk nonstop! As you were learning to speak, you started to develop a love for the movie Shrek. You couldn't fully pronounce the word Shrek, so it came out sounding like the F-bomb, and was quite the party trick (I'll explain to you what this is when you're older, but I have to write this down because it's a memory I do not want to forget!). It's been delightful learning more about you now that you can tell us who you are and what you want. You have the sweetest voice, love to tell us stories using very dramatic hand motions, and say the absolute silliest things. Every night I tell you "I love you SO much", and you tell me "not SO much!", and we have a big giggle about it. Given your love of Shrek, you're also obsessed with talking about "true love" and frequently ask me to give you a "true love kiss". It's my favorite thing. Is it clear how much I adore you? In so many ways, I wish you could stay this age forever, because every time I look at you, I'm holding back giggles and the urge to constantly squeeze you because of just how cute you are. But given the journey we've been on together, I know you have magic for me around every new turn.
You're not always all sunshine and roses kid! You have opinions, strong opinions, and you want them known. I love how much conviction and grit you have, except for when I just want you to do the thing I'm asking you to do! Please?? This has been the year you've gotten to know what a time out is, and I have a feeling you may know them well this year. Most of the time, when you're being naughty, you're still being cute, and I've learned I'm a horrible disciplinarian and mostly just laugh at your antics. You light up my life sweet girl.
We had quite an adventurous year together! Many trips to the beach, a summer trip to Chicago and Wisconsin. You threw up on our card ride to Wisconsin and we had to change you in a parking lot. We traveled to Tulum, Mexico for your Uncle Matt and Aunt Jess' wedding. You were their flower girl, and mama and dada were beyond proud and crying while watching you walk down the aisle. And, for your second birthday, we made your first trip to Disneyland. You had the absolute best time meeting all of your favorite characters and we had the absolute best time watching you so happy! I can't wait to take you back again.
I had a big year too! I made a major career change to remove my long commute and reduce my travel, motivated by my desire to be around you as much as possible. I enjoy my job, and am still learning how to be the mom I want to be while having a successful career that you and I can both be proud of. I'm a work in progress, but this was a big step. I also launched a project I'm passionate about called The Returnity Project, supporting women in their journey through career and family. You were the motivation to push me out of my comfort zone, and you are the reason I want to be successful, to be a better person and to make the world a better place. You're still the luckiest girl in the world, spending the weekdays with your grandparents while mom and dad work. They keep you busy, taking you to all of your classes and activities and are always coming up with the most fun games and activities for you. You adore them and they adore you! This was the year your Aunt Emi moved to San Francisco, and we see her all the time, it's the best! You get beyond excited every time she comes to visit, and it makes her the happiest.
Your life is magical in every way, and I never want that to change. You have such a big support system around you, and your fan club is there for you at every turn. Family is the most important thing, and you bring so much joy and excitement to everything we do together. This year I've felt close to you in a way that's hard to describe. You teach me so much about myself, about what's important in life, and that there's wonder and joy all around us. I know how lucky I am to be your mom and it's the proudest title I've ever held. To my joyful, strong, silly, curious, precocious little girl - never change.
I love you SO much (you better not say "not SO much" back!)