Dear Archer,

I have tried to write you a letter all day. I don't know why I am having such a hard time. Words usually come easy to me. I have written you letters before, both on blog and on paper, folding little origami notes in your baby book, sealing them with spit and tears and blessings.

I searched for photos of you as a newborn baby, realizing that the bulk of them are lost with my old laptop and I felt guilty and then a little sad for forgetting so much of the beginning, the way you felt in my arms and the little pimples on your face that I don't remember even noticing at the time. You were so perfect, so lacking any sort of idiosyncrasy:

And you still are:

We went to the park today. You wanted to bring your blankie and it was your birthday so I said, okay. I usually psyche you out.

"Look over there!" I say, "a squirrel," and I grab your blankie and throw it in the house all stealth like, as you search wildly for the squirrel, shrieking.

But today you dragged your blankie behind you, all seven blocks to the park, picking up rocks and dirt and sand and Jacaranda petals all the way.

We used the blankie as our own personal fort, tucking it into the chain link fence as you kneeled down beside me and pulled my sunglasses off my eyes and put them on yourself. Real cool, man. When the fort got old (about five seconds later) you knocked it down and pulled me toward the swing set where you insisted on climbing up in my lap and humming twinkle twinkle little star as we rocked back and forth, barefoot. Twinkle Twinkle little star is your favorite song to sing but you prefer when I sing "the ants go marching one by one Hoorah!" and ever time I say "boom, boom, boom" at the end of the verse, you laugh:

"...and they all go marching down. To the ground. To get out. Of the rain. Boom! Boom! Boom!"

You still refuse to speak, but you have mastered the art of your own communication. Your little voice echoing through every room in the house, following the dogs, holding their tails in your dirty hands. And sometimes when you don't feel like singing you brush my hair, with a hairbrush or your hands or the TV remote.

Maybe I have been struggling with this letter because two seems so much older than one and this time last year you were still a baby and now I don't know what you are: a toddler? Or are you a little boy?

You're Archer, to me and I wonder if I will ever be able to see beyond the moment with you, or if the past will erase like disappearing ink. I wonder if this time next year I will have forgotten all this, you with your red blankie in your arms falling asleep on my chest in the swing, feeding me crackers and then laughing when I make the "yum!" face.

And maybe that's the point. Of being a parent and always, no matter what, being in love. The butterfly feeling that never goes away and how I become absent-minded when you play peek-a-boo with me or smell the flowers because it takes up all my brain power to figure out how you came to be in this world and how I ended up on the receiving end of your smiles. Your wide-eyed pensive glances. Your youness.

Today you are two years old. "This many," I say, holding up two fingers like a peace sign and you look back at me like I'm crazy, so I speak in gibberish and I tell you how much I love you in your personal langauge:


You seem to understand and you nod and laugh and pull the petals off your blankie, which I should be washing right now but screw it. I'll wash the thing tomorrow.

Meanwhile, you'll keep growing. Graduating from 2T to 3T to 4T to 5 as I fold and shelve our yesterdays to make room for our tomorrows.

From infantile... warrior!!!!

And you truly are a warrior, my friend. A stomping, throwing, dancing, jumping, screaming, laughing warrior, dragging your red blankie behind you. Forward ho! -- toward the horizon of a new year paved with puzzle pieces to throw, pianos to play, pet dragons to cuddle, flowers to smell and all the rest of your favorite things.

You are my favorite thing (or in a language you might be more familiar with):

Gooyolackalackaheehee maliolalafoolapooha laheehee.

Happy Birthday, Archer Sagebrush; Pirate of the Snails.



(cross-posted with slightly different photos at Straight From the Bottle.)


Unknown | 3:11 AM

Happy birthday Little dude.
He was a striking baby Bec!! Have his eyes totally changed colour?

I think his red shirt is wicked.

It's hard to imagine that you will forget how your baby feels in your arms at their current age but you do. I used to get so cross with my mum because she would be so flippant about my childhood, she doesnt even remember what time I was born! I have the same baby book for each of my 4 children and they are rammed full of information. I look back on the older kids books and read things that I had totally forgotten. Little sayings or made up words. Expressions.
Write them all down because you will forget.

metro mama | 4:24 AM

He and Cakes speak the same language (she turned two on Sat).

Just wait, a year from now we'll be wishing they'd shut up.

Happy birthday Archer!

Woman on the Verge | 4:43 AM

What a beautiful letter to your son...he will look back at these some day, as all of our children will, and know how amazingly special he is to you.
Happy 2nd Birthday Archer!

Anonymous | 5:20 AM

Happy two-ness to both of you!

1. It's not as bad as they tell you to expect.

2. It's actually more fun than 1 1/2.

karengreeners | 5:58 AM

Happy Birthday, Archer, and Happy Birthday to you.
Bee turned two last week - and the words - just wait - the words are slaying me.

Anonymous | 6:38 AM

That was wonderful! To be so blessed with a child that makes your heart dance and be able to express it so eloquently is truly a gift! You brought me to tears remembering the same things of my little guys. I write my 2 boys letters on their birthdays every year, but I lack your gift. Archer is a lucky boy.

Shannon | 7:15 AM

brava!! happy birthday to you guys!
Two is wonderful. I promise.

Binky | 8:07 AM

Happy Birthday, Archer.

And congratulations to you on your second anniversary as his mom.

Whit | 9:20 AM

That was lovely.

I can't believe he's only two, when I saw you at the bookstore he struck me as older, and yet you can't believe he's two already. Bittersweet that is.

My oldest turns 4 in a couple of weeks. He is excited, and still, it is breaking my heart.

Anonymous | 9:23 AM

Oh WOW! You're such an inspiration to me. I started reading your posts when I was 3 months pregnant. I love your writing and your parenting style. My baby girl is now 8 1/2 months and I enjoy all of your blogs tremendously. I feel like I'm checking in on a friend when I read your words. Happy Birthday to your beautiful boy and best of luck with all your endeavors. Thanks for being there for a first time Mama!

Loukia | 9:57 AM

Must... stop... crying... at work! Beautiful. Just right-on. Happy Birthday to your 2 year old son! xoxo

motherbumper | 9:59 AM

I'm always late to the party...

Happy Birthday Archer with love & xoxoxoxo from motherbumper and bumper.

GGC - your words are beautiful as always. Happy Becoming a Mom Day.

Anonymous | 10:23 AM

Um, how do you not just eat him up? It's amazing how much he looks like his infant self still!

Happy Birthday Archer!

Anonymous | 10:43 AM

aww sooo sweet and touching :)
Happy Birthday big guy!~jjlibra

barbara | 10:52 AM

Happy birthday little man! And happy birth day to you too Rebecca.

Anonymous | 12:59 PM

Happy Birthday! Our little man refused to speak for a long time and then from the day he turned 2, the words started coming... Be ready, it's adorable :)

Chicky | 5:48 PM

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go...

Happy birthday to my favorite Pirate, courtesy of Dr Seuss...


Anonymous | 7:45 PM

Happy Birthday Archer!!

Man, these are the moments!

Candace April | 9:07 PM

What a beautiful letter--what a perfect gift to give--and it will always be just his size.

Anonymous | 9:54 PM

bec, you body check me in the heart every time.

enjoy this year's trip around the sun, young pirate warrior.bmc

Anonymous | 10:48 PM

Happy Birthday Archer!!!
So WAY cool! :)
beautiful letter. It can be so hard to formulate thought, much less sentences, when your overpowering love and awe regarding a very special day wraps its tight grip around your brain and squeezes but somehow you managed to break free of its grasp and produce this lovely, touching letter. Archer is one lucky dude and you are one lucky mama.
My best to you both!

Namito | 5:42 AM

Happy Birthday, Archer! Congratulations, have an amazing little man there.

Unknown | 8:38 AM

it's been fun watching him grow up. Congrats to you GGC.

And a Happy Big 2 to Archer.

Style Police | 1:49 PM

Happy birthday Archer, i love watching & reading about you grow up!

BOSSY | 3:35 PM

So. Cute. By the way - Bossy decided: She definitely needs a blankie.

Anonymous | 7:10 PM

happy birthday to archer!!

no more counting age in months for mom :). congratulations on two years!

Anonymous | 9:29 AM

Happy Birthday Archer! And from one two-year-old to another, Chance saw Archer's picture on the screen and yelled out, "Hi Baby!"

(I think thy must like being our "babies" even as they turn into little boys.)

the mad momma | 8:02 AM

happy birthday to archer from the brat, the bean and me... I love this red shirt and the jersey cow pants! here's looking forward to lots of interesting posts from his mama...

Anonymous | 8:58 AM

Fun times. And you DO forget how they were when they were younger...

Soon he'll have OPINIONs he can voice and then everything changes!

Her Bad Mother | 10:44 AM

AGH. LATE. For future reference I will make mental note that he, like me, is a very-close-to-the-cusp Gemini. Although much cuter than me.

Happy birthday, little cow-poet.

Mom101 | 2:40 PM

You always know just how to make me cry.

Big kisses from Archer's NY friend and beloved, Thalia (& Co.)

mo-wo | 11:01 PM

Beautiful. Happy Birthday to Archer and no word a lie GGC. Folded clothes, pages to the book.. change.


Thank you all!!!

Shawn | 7:12 AM

Beautiful! All of the pictures are adorable from this post to the next. You are clearly a Mommy in Love. That's a great gift. Thanks for sharing.

Heather | 6:56 AM

That is so beautiful!

kittenpie | 2:09 PM

Gah! I've said before and I say again - I am totally long-distance in love with your little guy. He is awesome.

Happy birthday, little dude.

Jaelithe | 9:18 PM

What a beautiful birthday boy.

Tara | 1:05 PM

Beautiful. You brought tears to my eyes... how do these little people grow so quickly? My darling Ava is 17 months, but when I look at her I still see my newborn staring up at me.