Dear Owen,

Recently you started insisting on wearing a baseball cap any time we leave the house. It’s because you want to be just like Dada; you like his hat with the red ‘B’. It wasn’t until I watched you walking along the driveway in your zip-up hoodie, sneakers and little hat that it struck me what a little boy you’ve become. The last set of photos I sent to the family was met with shock — who was this smiling lean little boy with the sparkling eyes and the mop of blond hair?

I do have moments of “where did my baby go?” shock, but mostly, I’m not sad to see you grow. I’m amazed and dazzled by you. Whether you’re counting to 14 (the highest you’ve learned so far), or identifying and reciting the alphabet (although sometimes you still forget X), I am filled with happiness and pride to see what you can achieve.

You love trucks. LOVE trucks. You love to sing and dance and read and play and laugh. You are one of the most affectionate and talkative children I’ve ever known — you are hardly ever not talking about something. Sometimes I can tell your brain is working faster than your mouth and you stumble over a thought that is just bursting to get out of you.You can also be cautious and shy when you first meet someone, but I think that’s not a bad thing.

Nom, nom, kissable lips.

We have some really nice boys who live in our neighborhood and they play basketball every day after school. You are fascinated by them and when they notice you, they will often come over and toss the ball with you. You shriek with joy and bounce it back to them. When they go back to their game, you stand at the end of the driveway with a look of wonderment and watch them play. I often find my heart catching in my throat during these moments and my eyes welling up a little for a few different reasons: I see how happy it makes you, how cool you think those big boys are. And that makes me happy. But I also see a glimpse into your future — the pains of growing up you will experience that I can’t shield you from. The first time someone tells you they don’t want to play with you and you sadly watch them play from afar, or when someone is mean to you and you just don’t understand why. I know you have to go through these moments, but I’m glad I can keep you away from that for a while longer.

This is my last letter to you before you turn two, and your world as you know it will be forever changed. Next time I write, it will be just under three weeks until your brother is born and you become a Big Brother. I’m excited and anxious about our family growing, but I know you are going to love him so very much. You tell me that our family is “mama, dada, and toady (Kodiak)”, but when I ask you who is going to join our family you shout “Brother!” and lift up my shirt. I can’t wait for you two to start your sibling journey together.

Until then, I’m savoring these last three months of just us. It’s going to be a great spring, buddy.

I love you through and through.