turning two

About two years ago I had a surreal moment holding a newborn baby. At three days old, she wasn’t the youngest I’d held. I have ten nieces and nephews most of whom I met hours after they were born. This baby was different. This was the first baby I held that was born to a peer, someone my age. The first baby I’d held who could feasibly be my child, if that makes any sense.
When you’re the youngest child by enough years, you get to sit back and watch your older siblings do all of the things first. I was just five when my oldest sister had her firstborn son. Between five and 22 I watched as all four of my older siblings brought nine more kids into our lives, through birth and adoption. Every last one was a new child to love and play with, but none hit me in the way that holding this newborn did.
She was born to a girl I shared an apartment with in Charleston. I officially met Jaclyn on my first weekend at College, and she quickly became an important piece of my inner circle. Jaclyn and I lived through many firsts together — from the first slice of pizza at the late night pizza window by our dorm, to the first nights out as 21 year olds, to first applications for real world jobs. We grew from kids to adults together.
As we get older our circles expand. We add new friends. Our settings change. The people change. There are relatively few friends who know us before and after we become adults.
Jaclyn is that for me.
Her baby girl will have that one day. God willing, she’ll have a beautiful future full of friends who are willing to know her and love her in the ways Jaclyn has for me. She’ll probably be fiery in the best way, and goofy in all the right moments. She’ll have a good head on her shoulders, and hopefully a deep appreciation for the mom who helped her cultivate all of those things.
But for now, she’s just going to be two. She’ll eat some cake, play with some toys, and continue to put giant smiles on people’s faces… because that’s what a kid does at two.
I’ll just enjoy every moment I get to spend in her little light, because on a December afternoon in 2012 she taught me something new. I sat on Jaclyn’s couch and held the most life-changing thing anyone can ever hold, someone’s first shot at being a parent… someone my age’s first shot at being a parent. She was tiny, soft, and quiet. As I held her I finally understood why people lose their minds over the scent of a sweet baby’s head.

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