Happy Birthday, Little One: Kendley Turns Two (From Mommy)

May 18
Bordeaux, France


Today our daughter turns two years old.  To celebrate, we followed our GPS for ages around the sprawling suburbs that spiral off Bordeaux’s ring road until it brought us to Récréa’Land, an indoor gymnasium/fun zone complete with multilevel play structures, slides and several enormous, child-swallowing ball pits.  In the past, we have found that these kinds of places offer free Wi-Fi to the parents, at least to those who don’t neurotically cling to the protective webbing enveloping the pulsating hive of activity.  My brain has finally adapted to the surrounding din, and the stereophonic screaming no longer causes me to cringe as much as it did the first fifteen minutes we arrived.  I ask you, what better atmosphere could anyone conceive in which to genuflect on how much we adore our children!

We return to our heroine.  Kendley, our newly minted two-year-old, is our little fire-breather. She is equally as shrewd as a fox and as stubborn as a mule, but mostly she is steadfast in her love for those who meet her discerning standards.  She is a tiny locomotive that is set precisely to her own particular schedule. Ever since her grand escape, when she turned 21 months, we have yet to find any kind of baby cot that can contain her. She sprints like a jackrabbit with an added measure of bob and weave that is specifically designed to evade her parents on crowded market days.  On a mad dash, she will seldom turn around unless it’s to see whether or not we’ve given chase, which only makes her run faster.  When caught, she morphs into a rabid howler monkey, but somehow manages the phrase “PUT ME DOWN NOW!” with perfect elocution. On various occasions, Ryan, Oliver and I have all either simmered in her pale blue eyes or been bathed in light; her little fists have alternately cradled our faces and met the ends our noses.


She is, as one of her grandmothers calls her, a little myna bird that is quick to imitate, and an adorable ham that is keen to put on a show.  On long drives through European countryside, she will reliably belt out a tune of her own making that usually pertains to ladybugs.  She can charm us like no one ever has, with her precious blankey under her arm and her two fingers in her mouth. Her first two words in the morning are invariably “Hi, honey”, followed by a “breakfast pleeeeeese”. She struts, she supplicates, she snuggles and she screeches. We have all loved her fiercely from the second she drew her first breath.


Truthfully, the concept of her turning two years today has me a little thrown.  Recently I have been stealing moments here and there to watch little home movies of her taking her first steps in California before we left for Iceland. Her wobbly determination is evident in her every move, and I am astounded that nearly twelve months have passed since that milestone. I have always been one for whom the passage of time never came easily; I am forever too caught up in the here and now to register the ephemeral aspect of our lives.  But time is indeed passing, whether I like it or not.


Before our eyes, Kendley has become a little goldilocks sprite, full of sass and spirit. She is a traveler now like the rest of us; she continues to blossom in the light of so many different days encountered on the road.  She is one of four equally critical pillars upon which this family stands, and I speak for all of us when I say that, for her, there is nothing that we would not do.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.