Dear Hank,

You are two! It is hard to get the right fingers to stay down while you hold up the ones that show your age. Plus you'd rather just keep your thumb in your mouth. But you are thrilled to be two. You are such a big boy now! You asked for a rainbow birthday, with party hats. Your idea inspired our big sister birthday project this year - rainbow seeds to remember Celia. You liked helping count the Skittles.

At two, you are beside yourself with enthusiasm for farm animals. And zoo animals. You drew a lion this morning, lots of wild orange lines, and asked for tape to hang it up.
You are so polite. Like, I can't even handle it when you ask Siri to play a song (Sugar Butter Flour, from Waitress) and then say "Thank you, Siri" once she complies. My very favorite thing right now is the way, when you're done with a meal, you hold up your plate and say "Thank you dinner Mama." It almost makes second breakfast and eighteenth snack survivable.
I also love the way you still want to hold my thumb. And the way you are so easy to put to bed, milk-book-big hug-little hug-blue bed-love you-lights out. There are so many things I love about you, Hank, and almost enough coffee to keep up.

You scare us with your developmentally appropriate yet very dreadful risk taking. Your unspoken motto seems to be: under prepared and over confident. You spend a fair amount of time doing wooden puzzles, and the rest of your time is mostly devoted to polishing mischievous moves. At school pick up you track your brothers down like a cop with a warrant. It's hard to be away from them all day. At home you follow the big boys around, a balloon on a string attached to their wrists. Is there something about being the younger sibling that pushes your personality toward fearlessness?  Please may you develop the wisdom to know when your brothers are doing something unworthy of imitation!
Physically, you are a force to be reckoned with. The solid heft of you, a hay bale with limbs. Your hair the color of olive oil, silky and still with that faint scent of babyhood. Your feet like little sausages, too cushiony to fit most shoes. That little scar under your left eye that might accidentally always remind us of tile shopping. You are, to put it simply, as handsome as you are hilarious.

You are our fourth child, our family's chaos coordinator and our second wind. You are growing less little every day, ever-unfolding. How lucky are we to grow with you? We are fairly forthcoming about how frightening is was for us to decide to invite another child into the world. Our desire to go ahead with hope, to try for one more healthy baby, was just a bit stronger than our doubts. And what we've come to believe is that there is a force in the universe forever on the side of those brave enough to trust it.
And we believe in you Charles Hanley, our littlest big, brave boy.

Love you always.


rht said...

We love Hank too -- we love all your kids! And that picture of Hank looking back at the T's through some bigger numbers just speaks volumes!

Poppy John said...

Happy Birthday, Hank!


Kristy Grachek said...

Happy birthday Hanky baby!