Today you are five. Excuse me. I need to get a tissue.
Just writing that forms a lump in my chest.
Not because I don’t want you to grow up because oh, honey. I do. Really. I do. I know it would be weird if you stayed a baby forever and were never given the opportunity to sprout the wings your daddy and I are helping you to grow.
But as you like to say (in a way to mock me, of course) with a little smile that tells me you secretly love this fact, “I know, mommy. I will always be your baby. Even when I am an old mom like you.”
Admittedly, there is something about five that is screaming “NO LONGER TOTALLY DEPENDENT ON YOU” that is choking me up a bit.
Maybe it’s because you are going off to Kindergarten in the fall. Maybe it’s because you are learning to read. Maybe it’s because you are starting to do things that “big kids” do like play the Wii and actually enjoy playing in the snow.
Mostly, I think it’s because we are starting to be able to have some really amazing conversations. We can actually talk at night, when it’s just us, up in your bed about things that really matter. You ask me about Jesus. You wonder about heaven. You express your sadness when someone is left out at school and we brainstorm ways to make that person not feel so left out.
I love your heart and thank God every day for the young woman I see you becoming.
You are polite. You are kind. You have a lot of friends. You reach out to those who are alone and I must say, you possess an uncanny ability to realize this at such a young age. Yet you do.
And you reach.
You are funny. Your jokes are stand-up comic material like “Have you ever taken a bowl of ice cream and filled it with pizza?”. Of course, you continue this routine because it is completely cracks your brothers up so much that milk is spills from their noses. The more they laugh, the zanier your silly jokes become. (For the record, I do not see the humor in this. I think you need to be under six to get it.)
You are sensitive. Sometimes I have to remember that you are because in our fast-paced household filled with more testosterone than estrogen, your sensitivity can be pushed aside or considered “dramatic.” I’m trying not to do that to you, sweet love. You are not dramatic. You are feminine and God made you just like that. I was likely the same way when I was five (in fact, I know I was because Mimi says it is so) and sometimes I forget that maybe Sawyer taking one of your Littlest Pet Shops IS a huge deal to you. I am guilty of seeing your world through my adult eyes but I’m trying to get better.
When I found out you were coming, I was overjoyed. I spent the next nine months reading about you, learning what to do with you, and celebrating you. You had so many people to love you and so many who wanted to celebrate your impending arrival. You were, and continue to be, loved and cherished since your conception.
The first two years, when it was just the three of us in our little bungalow-style house in the trendy neighborhood in Indianapolis, you loved to feed the ducks along the canal across the street. The sound of your squeals and giggles, particularly when mommy was chased by a very mean goose, will forever be imprinted in my memory.
I won’t ever stop hearing it.
We took a lot of walks and mommy and daddy drank a lot of coffee (we still do now but even more…). You said your first words there. Took your first steps. You fell down the stairs once and I held my breath as you stumbled. You were fine. I was not.
We moved to another city. You were given a baby brother. Then another baby brother. Your world changed drastically. You weren’t the only one anymore.
Yet, here you are. You adjusted.
I love watching you with your brothers. They drive you crazy. I know. If I may be honest here, they drive me crazy sometimes, too. But yet, we love them so much. I love watching you love them – it is so genuine and allows you to apply the love that hopefully you are learning from mommy and daddy to your wild little men.
Your brothers feel it. They adore you. When you walk into the room, they light up. After preschool, Sawyer can hardly wait until you can get in the door and start playing on the horse and the trampoline. You are mostly patient with him though at times, you have had enough. That’s OK, too. You also need to be able to tell when you have reached your limit and you need some time alone.
Solomon delights in your hugs. He squeals and laughs in your presence.
Actually, we all do.
You are a gift to me, my angel. Once you were born, I thought, “Yes. This is it. The piece that was missing.”
There was a jigsaw-shaped place for you in my heart and you came into this world filling it completely.
As I say to you each night as I am tucking you in, “I love you always, always. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. And there is nothing you could ever do to make me love you any more or any less.” I love you for who you are right here at this moment. That will always be so. You will never have to be the smartest in the class or the homecoming queen or the best athlete because my love for you is not based on what you do.
It’s based only on you. Just. How. You. Are. My precious, precious child.
Happy Fifth Birthday, My Sweet Girl. To say that your daddy and I love you would be the year’s biggest understatement.