To my daughter, Heidi Rose, on her second birthday,
Happy, happy birthday, Little One! What a journey we’ve had these past two years! And what a joy it has been to watch you grow and become the remarkable human you are meant to be!
From the moment of your arrival in Zurich, Switzerland to the recent days we’ve spent splashing in your kiddie pool in Orlando, Florida, your 2-years of life has been full of spectacular adventures and beautiful stories that I will cherish telling you about over and over again.
★ Like that time we took you up to the Swiss mountain town of Mürren on your 1-month birthday just to soak up the views of the Jungfrau, Monch, and Eiger peaks on a perfect fall afternoon. You slept most of the day, but it was much-needed mountain time for mommy and daddy.
★ You’ve “hiked” mountains across Switzerland, Scotland, Ireland, and Colorado. Of course, you’ve undertaken most of these hikes in a baby carrier or backpack and you’ve slept through quite a lot of epic scenery. Nevertheless, we’ve been delighted to have you with us as we’ve traversed the natural world.
★ I loved the moment when we watched the sun set over the edge of the “known world” (in medieval times) from the coastal cliffs of Sagres, Portugal. It was a cool spring evening, and you were wearing your thick knit dress with the bunny on it and the only hat that fit your head at the time.
★ That time we carried you through the Wieliczka Salt Mines outside of Kraków, Poland was quite memorable. You didn’t seem to mind how dark it was or that you were 135 meters deep underground.
★ You’ve toured castles, slept in camper vans, gone up gondolas, chased pigeons in town squares and hailed dolphins from boats. For the most part, you’ve been a good sport and up for it all.
★ Did you know you’ve actually been to Liechtenstein? And did you know you’re your little body has been directly under the largest rocket ever built? You did both of those things with your grandparents “LC & Pops”.
★ I couldn’t believe our luck when we got a last-minute spot on a puffin boat tour off the Isle of Skye. I was definitely more excited than you about the puffins… they were so small and it was tough for you to see them with that giant lifejacket on!
★ I also loved our weekend away in Chicago, when you weren’t quite walking and we sat on the Skydeck of the Willis Tower. You were fine with it until you realized we were 103 floors above the ground; then you freaked out a bit.
★ I hope we never forget that lovely day when we hiked up an active volcano in Guatemala and we roasted your first marshmallow over lava rocks. You appeared more interested in the rocks – and you didn’t care for the wind one bit!
★ Of the 25 planes you’ve been on to date, you have dutifully read the safety instruction cards before many of those flights. We appreciate your participation in such pre-flight recommendations.
Truly, you have traveled more than most in your first two years of life.
But honestly, your travels are only a small part of what makes you you!
My darling #littleAlpenRose,
You are an absolutely delightful child (well, except when you’re hangry…) and your joyful spirit makes others smile. Seriously, you can make even the grumpiest stranger wave hello to you. It’s pretty awesome.
You have an insatiable thirst for stories, and we have loved watching your imagination come to life. You’ve amazed us with how you can recite some of your favorite books nowadays.
Your enjoyment of music and dancing is so sweet – and quite funny! It’s hard to get you off the dance floor at weddings. Your knack for climbing things is simultaneously amazing and concerning. It seems like your daddy may have passed along his spirit animal to you: the mountain goat.
Although it drives me crazy sometimes, your convictions are strong and resolute. Some might call this just being stubborn… but I can see the calculating thoughts behind your actions. It’s because you are quite smart.
Your love for swimming and all-things-aquatic is simply wonderful. The fact that I have to hold you back from jumping in the ocean after a pod of dolphins because you don’t actually know how to swim yet is quite phenomenal. Pretty soon I won’t have to hold you back.
For you, my dear daughter, you are an explorer. You are an adventurer. You are courageous.
As I shared when you were first born, this world is wild and wonderful, full of treasures but also dangers. You must be wise and you must be wary. But that does not mean you have to fear the unknown. Your story has just begun and I have no doubt it will be a great tale. I hope that you will continue turning the pages with the same gusto, grit, and determination as you have demonstrated thus far.
I love you and I love that you are a part of our world!