A Letter to Rosa Joy, 2 Years Old.

Dear Rosa,

I read a lot of Mommy Blogs. Like, lots of Mommy Blogs. They make me feel sane and less lonely on this bumpy, glorious road of motherhood. They give me ideas for weekend activities to squeeze in amidst the madness, and they help reassure me that you are, indeed, the cutest little girl to ever walk the earth.

I have not, however, taken time to write to you. Not like I did for your brother. Not like I did when I was younger. You two are mostly to blame for that, but today, I realized that you wouldn’t be reading Dooce, Marriage Confessions, Lady and the Biker and Young House Love when you are my age. You’re going to want to read my words.

And I have them. Lots and lots of words. 

So here goes.


I sing “you are my sunshine” to you every night. Because you are. You are clear about your preference for “wheels on the bus” these days, but I insist on reminding you that you are my sunshine. Your brother reminds me of the parts of my personality that grate against other people and make me a strong leader and a bossy woman, but you remind me of my passion, my joy, my love for people and their stories. You remind me of the parts of myself that I wish I spent more time cultivating.

Don’t get me wrong. You’re still 2. You throw things just to watch our reaction. You hit Elliott because you know he won’t hit you back (yet). And you cross your arms and tell me “No, Mama!” like it’s your job. 

Because it is. Testing limits. Figuring out cultural norms. Discovering how you get the things you want (mainly graham crackers, apples and playtime outside) through your words and actions. 

And oh, your hair! It reminds me that really, neither of us is in control. Regardless of how much peanut butter you smear in it or how carefully I brush it into uneven pigtails, it is still an unruly, curly, halo of blonde. I love your hair. 

As you have grown, you’ve also validated many of the purchases I made for your brother many months ago, now. The blue stroller. The baby dolls. The perfect play kitchen that I shopped devotedly on Amazon to get the best price on. The puzzles. The stockpile of crayons and coloring books and stickers and sidewalk chalk. Those things haven’t spoiled in time, and you love each and every one in them in ways I could not convince your brother.

I’ll write to him, too, don’t worry. But I don’t want to pretend that boys and girls are the same. Having one of each has taught me that. Being the primary breadwinner in our family but still being responsible for birthday cards and family outings taught me that. You will read this some day. I hope it’s days, not months or years, before I write to you again.

I love you, my sassy sunshine,