Happy Birthday, Rylosaur! We love you so much. I’ll never be able to put into words how much joy you brought to us not only two years ago when you were born, but also these last two years. Every day is an adventure with you, and your smile is the most contagious thing I’ve ever experienced.

I’m not sure where time has gone, but I know it will only continue to fly. Although I feel like as parents, we have taught you a lot already, I believe you have taught us more. You’ve been constant reminders of God’s love, joy, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. Thank you for that.

Months before you were born, your Daddy and I started praying for you to be strong, kind, and full of the Lord’s joy. You certainly are those things already. Sometimes it’s tough to think of you as anything other than my baby (even though you’ve been out of the baby stage for awhile now), let alone picture you as a student, young man, husband, father, or leader someday; I know that God has huge plans for your life, and you may be several or all of those things. In just two years you have already impacted many. You’ve taught me patience, a new level of laughter, and through your babbles and hand motions, reminded me to constantly look to Jesus.

This last year had many ups and downs, but I wouldn’t trade a day of it. You’ve had so many firsts, and it is so fun to watch you grow. It’s hard to believe that you can recognize and say most of your colors, count to ten, can say most of your ABCs, and are potty trained. You communicate, intentionally do things to make people laugh, and you are smart! You love to read books, ask to listen to songs every couple hours, and love learning. You seem to have a baseball player’s arm when you throw a ball (or anything for that matter), and you love anything related to cars or airplanes. You love to be a helper, and you’re very observant.

You hold your Daddy and me accountable in our relationship with Jesus, whether or not you realize it. As parents, things happen that test our patience, that are sad, that are frustrating, scary, or difficult. You’ve been there with us to see and hear reactions and words. You watch us succeed as well as screw up. You watch us apologize and ask for forgiveness. You smile and remind us of Jesus when we start to fall off-track. You are strong, kind, and full of the Lord’s joy. As a typical toddler, you like to test our patience and see how close to the line you can get or cross it entirely just to see what happens. You make us think, act quickly, and you’re watching our every move. As eye-opening as a mere two years of parenting has been, it is such a blessing from the Lord. He has given us the privilege of growing together spiritually and seeing him in a new way each day.

We are so thankful for you, little man, but we know that you do not ultimately belong to us. You are a temporary gift from the Lord—to love, to train, to nurture, and to cheer on throughout this short life on earth. We love you, and hope you are dreaming of Mickey Mouse cupcakes tonight. Happy second birthday!