Nineteen months. One year and seven months. It’s starting to get to the point where saying the months really isn’t meaningful in terms of development – You are one and a half. You are a toddler. You are becoming more and more independent and self-sufficient every day. It amazes me. Rotating on the backdrop of my computer are your monthly photos. Every so often I find myself staring at them, wondering when was the exact moment you went from looking like a baby to looking like a little girl. Was it on your first birthday? When we started putting your hair in piggy’s? When you decided you would only eat with a fork?
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about promises. Promises kept are one of the truest expressions of love because keeping a promise is a responsibility. It takes unfailing devotion and commitment. “I love you” is a promise. “I won’t give up” is a promise. And anything you say to yourself–“You can finish this,” “You can do better,” “You are enough,” “You are a beautiful, radiant beacon of positivity and magic”–can become a promise, too. I have made many promises to you. To love you, to help your grow and learn, to teach you about life, to help you through the good times and the rough times. I made a promise the day that you made me a mother. I promised to be there every day to guide you, but to let you make your own decisions. I also promised to write you a monthly letter. I promised to document your childhood and my own life as a mother, to honour these memories and try to use my words rather than photos and videos to remember this time. Each letter seems like a big deal, and no words ever seem right when trying to express how proud I am of you, how much I wish for you and how much beauty and adventure the world has promised for you. I still haven’t quite figured out when I will give you these books and books of letters. Maybe on your wedding day. Maybe when you go away to school. Maybe you will always have them. Time will tell, but for now I promise to keep writing so I can give you the gift of your childhood.
We have been going on many fun adventures this month. We have so many wonderful things in our area to fill our days. I want you to know that there is a whole world out there to discover that does not require you to go to the theatre, or shopping, or staying inside playing video games. You loved toting my quilt to the field a few weeks ago to enjoy a yummy picnic lunch. We ate, and played and napped in the afternoon sun. You discovered grasshoppers. Every time you tried to touch one it would hop just out of your reach. You giggled and wiggled towards it again. I know there will be a day where discovering new things (like grasshoppers) will end, but I hope you will still find joy in the little things. There was a time in my life where I hurried through every day, never taking a moment to smell the flowers, however you have taught me to slow down. You have taught me to enjoy living small.
It’s apple picking season! We spent a weekend morning at Kilmarnock Orchard filling our basket to the brim. This fall has been so beautiful, the temperatures just right. You had a blast running up and down the rows of apple tress… McIntosh, Gala, Courtland… You loved them all. After a lot of playing and a lot of apple testing we happened to run into MaryLee and all the kids! They helped us fill our basket full of McIntosh apples of all sizes. You couldn’t help but sneak your little hands into the basket and sneak the biggest apple of the bunch. You love your apples! We played and visited with the kids for a little while before heading back to the car. I hope we do this every year. It is so refreshing coming home with a bushel of apples picked right off the tree.
You are growing more and more aware by the day. You understand so much. When I say “lets go outside” you run and get my shoes. There’s no time to waste when it comes to the outdoors! You try to help me put them on my feet, however they are usually backwards. You love helping me do the laundry and clean the house. You help me put the clothes in the dryer, and fold daddy’s t-shirts as best you can. I’m not allowed to help, because you are determined to do it yourself… So I wait until naptime to fix your pile and tuck them away. If I ask you to put the hampers away, you slide them back into the closet to exact place they belong. I am so amazed at the things you know. Swiffering is still one of your most favourite jobs. As soon as I pull my broom out, you have your swiffer in hand. You love to push my newly swept piles all over the room; so again, I have to actually sweep the floor during nap time. I don’t mind. I love that you are taking an interest in the daily chores around the house!
Skating is in full swing, and you are, yet again, a rink baby. You are so intrigued as you watch Momma and Auntie Kara go around the ice. I see you upstairs with Grandma, glued to the window as you watch. Your waves get bigger and bigger by the day. I cannot wait until we take you out on the ice. I’m in search of a pair of skates small enough to fit you… Your feet are probably the only thing small about you!
Lately we have been leaving the stroller in the car as we walk around town. I’m slowly letting you have a little more independence as we venture up and down the sidewalks (although you are always in an arms reach). You are so good to stay on the sidewalk as we walk, only diverging off of it to smell the flowers in the beautiful gardens. One day we spent a good 30 minutes walking back and forth through red and yellow coloured leaves that now adorn most of the walks. You loved swishing your feet through the colours, kicking them up in the air sometimes. You point and giggle — your signature style. You love walking up the church steps and watching the cars and big truck go by. My heart melted one day as we were walking back to the car. You reached up and wrapped your little hand around my index finger. I don’t know why, but I felt so special because you wanted to hold my hand. I never thought something so small would make my day so amazing. You are starting to really show your affection towards us. Although the words “I love you” have not been said, I know that is exactly how you feel. I can see it in your eyes, in the way to hug us, in the way you have to kiss us 10 times before bedtime. Feeling our love reciprocated is simply the best.
Some other notable things from this month:
October is aways going to be a month to celebrate but it is always going to be hard. Yesterday was 2 years since your Great Popa left us to go to Heaven. He was an amazing man, Olive, and he was so excited to know you were on the way. I know he picked an extra special little girl for us and I know he is always keeping you safe. You have an amazing angel by your side every day. I promise to always tell you stories about him… I have a lot to tell! You should be proud that he is your Great Popa!
Thanksgiving is this weekend. With every passing day I grow more and more thankful for our little family. I am thankful for your Daddy. He is the most amazing man I could have ever imagined and he is so good with you. I am thankful for the time you get to spend with him – just Olive and Daddy. I am thankful for the things he is teaching you and for the ear-to-ear grins you give him when you see him. I am thankful for the moments we spend playing outside, swinging in the fall breeze and digging in the driveway. I am thankful for your hugs and smiles and kisses. I am thankful that you love going to daycare at Sara’s and for all the friends you have made there. I am thankful for the amazing gift you have given me – being your mom. You are amazing. You are so healthy and so loved. Each day with you is a breath of fresh air. Watching you play and draw and clap and sing are the highlights of my days. I never knew this love. Thank you, my darling, for sharing this time with us. Thank you for loving us the same way we love you.
I love you to the moon and back!