I found myself really missing Jacob today as I headed to work after dropping him off at day care.
That's not to say I've never missed him in the past when my job interrupted our time together. It's just that something about today felt different.
Jacob is two years and one day old. He transformed overnight into a full-blown toddler. He's more independent. He knows what he wants to do, and he'll kick and scream when we have other plans. He wants to try everything on his own before asking for our help. If he had his way, he would play outside 24/7--popping bubbles, being pulled in the wagon, riding his four-wheeler, climbing up the slide ladder before going down.
And of course, he's mastered the tantrum. Some nights he spends most of the time in the corner. He cries loudly. He screams. He throws toys that aren't intended to be thrown. He pulls Dolly's hair. He pokes her eye and sticks his finger in her ear, saying those body parts out loud as if it were a learning activity. He keeps us on our toes and our blood pressure high.
But on my way to work this particular morning--one day after his second birthday--a light went on in my head. Just then I realized how trivial those blood-boiling, terrible-two moments are. It's easy for first-time parents to put too much emphasis on the bad annoyances.
I thought about how much fun he had over the weekend at his birthday party, his face lit up from a combination of elation and record-breaking heat. He was independent. He was outside. He was having the time of his life running around the back yard. And I had the best time just sitting back and watching him.
I thought about the adoration he has for Erin and me. His constant mimicking. His high-fives. His big hugs and kisses. He wants us to know every new thing he learns, sees or hears. He's always trying to grab our attention, make us laugh and smile. He's successful every time. It's impossible to stay mad at him when he flashes that baby gap-tooth smile, accompanied by his little giggle.
I'm looking forward to what this year will have to offer. Airshows, rodeos, county fairs all are on the calendar. The parental learning curve will be steep as we battle the Terrible Twos, but the bonding memories will last forever.
Year two is going to be hell, and it's also going to be heaven.