I just put you down for bed tonight. I sang "Happy Birthday" as I changed you into your pajamas. You giggled when I asked "How old are you?" and poked you in the belly. For your bedtime story, you brought me "La Historia de Jesús." I sometimes read it to you in Spanish, but tonight I read it in English. Then you brought me a book of nursery rhymes. We turned the pages and you pointed at various characters and exclaimed, "Hat! Hat! Hat!" I said nighttime prayers for you and put you down into your bed. I told you good night and you called back, "Night night."
You are a joy. I know that parents say that all the time, but every aspect of you right now is full of life. Your laugh always makes me smile. Wherever you go, you charge forward with purpose even when I'm pretty sure you don't know what's next (you really have unbelievable acceleration for someone your age). Your facial expressions and reactions constantly make us laugh. You're the toddler that wears a fedora most everywhere he goes.
That is not something that we set out to do. But somewhere along the way, we all started noticing how excited you were to point out hats on people. The guy wearing a ball cap in the restaurant? "Hat! Hat!" Curious George's friend dressed in yellow? "Hat! Hat!" Furman football games? "Hat! Hat! Hat! Hat!" For this reason, several relatives gave you hats for Christmas and you latched on to the fedora pretty quickly. People at church almost seem sad when you don't wear it on Sunday morning.
I write that to say that you are full of personality. Though you are our second child, you are in no way a retread of your brother. Both of you are wonderful and you have carved out your own niche. It is fun to see the ways in which you are different from Jim, try to be like your older brother, and challenge him.
I am just beyond grateful for you and writing these words feels like it doesn't come close to expressing how much your mom and I love you. I love the way you light up and run to your people when you see them. I love the glimmer in your eye when you are hatching some sort of scheme (even when said scheme is going to require me to chase you down and stop you). I love the way you say words and almost get them right. I love how monkeys are "ah ahs" and cats are "meows." I love the way that you will just randomly call out "Batman!" I how when you hug, you throw your entire being into it.
You are fearless. You are a daredevil (and that kind of terrifies your mom and I as you grow older). You are smart. You have a beautiful heart.
So know that you are loved. Not just when you were two years old and adorable. You are always loved more than you can imagine. By me. By Mom. By your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and plenty of family related to us and not. You are loved by God. I pray that you always know that; that you always carry that with you.
Whenever I say prayers with you, I pray that you would grow up to be big and strong to love God and love other people. The strong part is not necessarily a prayer that you would be physically strong (though you are presently built like a linebacker so that's a good probability). But it is so you will be strong for the people around you. It's a prayer that you will be someone who will be there for others. Even at two, I believe you will be that kind of person. I hope I don't screw that up in some way. But know that it is amazing to watch you grow up and I'm beyond excited that I get to share this experience with you. I realize I'm rambling and a lot of this is sappy, so I'm going to wrap this up.
Happy Birthday Liam. Our world is a more wonderful place with you here.