Dear Atticus,

You are eighteen months old! One of my students constantly asks how old you are and then says, “Why do you say it in months?” I don’t know. That’s just what you do. Around fifteen or sixteen months, I lost track of how many months I was supposed to say. And what does fifteen months mean, anyway, to someone who isn’t that kid’s parent? Thanks, now I have to do some algebra in my head while you are standing here. We can stop doing that now. We can tell people that you are a year and a half and leave it at that. It’s quite a milestone.

We are at the point in the summer when I start to realize that we will soon have to go back to our regular lives instead of living in summer time. Our regular lives are pretty great, but this summer has been especially great. We have played at the pool and gone to weddings and jumped on the furniture. Last summer, we were all so tired. But this summer has been wild and precious, and I am grateful.

You are learning so many things these days. You can imitate almost anything we say, but you are stubborn sometimes and choose not to learn words we want to teach you. We play airplane with you up high on my feet, horsey with you riding on my back. You dump water on your head at the pool. You remember things and tell us about them later. You are growing a ton of teeth and they make your patience short sometimes. You point out every single airplane (or airplane noise). You sing songs, making up words to the tune of “This Old Man.” You give spontaneous hugs and you run everywhere.

You are so fun and funny, Atticus. You say no so sweetly and matter-of-factly, just, no, I’m not interested in that. When you want something to work, you bring it to us and say open. You are just learning to say help. Your dad and I sometimes imitate you when we talk to each other.

You love your daddy, Atticus. And here is what I want you to know about him: When he talks about you, when you hug him, when I say something about you? His face lights up. There is a softness around his mouth, a smile he reserves just for you. I ache at the joy of it.

Yesterday, your dad and I celebrated our twelfth anniversary. We have been happy together in so many different ways: as newlyweds, as students who didn’t have a lot of extra money, as we learned and got jobs, as we bought and decorated a new home, as we planned for you. You have brought a new kind of happiness into our lives, the happiness of being a family of three and of watching you learn and grow.

Thank you, sweet boy, for all the hugs and kisses and laughter. But mostly because I love to see how happy you make other people.


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