Because you are a two year-old, your legs and arms and milky kisses still stick out like parentheses from your frog-like middle. You count things and sing Twinkle, Twinkle, over and over. You know the moon. You are an entire body that says No.
You are short.
Because you are a two year-old, you dance. Here’s how you dance: squat, stand … squat, stand, wiggle, wiggle … squat, stand. It isn’t necessarily rhythmic, but it is dancing, nevertheless. You’re a good dancer and when the song ends and your body notices the music is over, we clap and say, Yay! And then we do it again.
Because you are a two year-old, you are the center and your home and your world whirl around you. You have a mommy and a daddy (or in the case of some other two year-old, whatever combination of mommies, daddies or singles we can think of) who foster your whirling, spinning, kinetic core. You have a Nonnie, a Neema, and a MeeMee. You have two Papas, one you know and one you don’t know quite as much as the other Papa. You have one baby brother you call DeeDee, because that’s how you say baby. Everyone perpetuates that name and now your brother is forever maimed by that unfortunate pronunciation.
(We’ll figure that one out later.)
Because you are a two year-old, you have squishy food and pointy food. You prefer the pointy food because you can take it with you on your travels through the house. Now and then, you take up a spoon and push the squishy food into your mouth.
The spoon into the squishy food happens rarely, but is celebrated, nonetheless.
Because you are a two year-old, you learn words wherever you can. From your videos. From the adults who nurture you. From your own ears. One day you wanted a sweet cookie, but as you jumped and pointed up into the cupboard, the word came out as … Hoggity. Sweet Cookie. Hoggity. Since you have adults who adore your every whim, now ALL sweet things are hoggity things. You have hoggity baabaas and hoggity cereal … and best of all you give hoggity kisses.
You love your hoggities.
Most recently, because you are a two year-old, you love balloons. No. I mean, you LOVE balloons! You cannot make it through the grocery store without noticing all the Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary and I’m Sorry, Baby balloons tied here and there for people who need something to tie to those oops-I-forgot-all-about-it flowers.
Then, because you live in Northwest Phoenix, you know that hot air balloons take off only paces from your home every Saturday and Sunday morning. And … because you are a two year-old you LIVE for balloons.
Here is how you say the word, balloon: NanNoon.
Your voice rises in pitch on the second syllable and draws it impossibly long as you say the word. NanNooooon. The excitement in your voice is somewhere much higher than High C; the dogs cringe and tuck their ears when you sing the balloon word. You draw out the second syllable as if it should hang in the air as high and as long as those balloons which your voice follows.
So, this is how I shall always remember you. Even when you are thirty-five and a Dermatologist living in Scottsdale. Even if you hover like a last-minute, apologetic helium balloon over my bed as I am dying.
You will always be my Twinkle, Twinkle two year-old boy. My singer. My dancer. My perfect count-to-nineteener, pointy food, no, no, hurl-your-body-to-the-floor-eater. To me, you will always be a two year-old, singing in your high little voice — NanNoooon — into the morning Sunday sky … and I will always be your MeeMee.
Always, your hoggity MeeMee who — I can only hope — will some day become your NanNoon in the Sky.