Today you are five years old. I remember this morning five years ago, this morning that came after twenty six long hours of laboring and thirty eight long weeks of waiting. I remember the instant you announced your arrival and the way you fit perfectly into the fold of my arms. But I blinked, and now you are five, tall and lanky and precocious in every way.
Five years ago I found myself navigating the unfamiliar path of motherhood. I remember the muddle and the mishaps of those early days as I tried to find my way as a new mama. All these years later, I am still in uncharted territory, still stumbling forward. But today I see the person you are becoming and I realize that we are in this together, we always have been.
For now, we go along hand in hand. Our days start and end together and I still can’t imagine it any other way. You love to cuddle next to me on the couch to read books by the dozens. In the kitchen you are by my side wanting to help with every big and small task. You want to show me every drawing, every letter written, every splash of paint. Most mornings I find that you have made your way across the hall and into my bed sometime during the night. And now that you are five I am realizing just how humbling and overwhelming it is to be the person you look up to as you make your way through life’s tangles.
Five feels so big, so important. Although your sweet face is the same one I fell in love with on day one of babyhood, I look at you now and I’m certain that you are all kid. Five looks like this:
You are inquisitive. A thousand questions a day, and every answer remembered. You astound everyone by spouting off bits of knowledge mysteriously acquired: the world’s tallest mountains, the superheroes’ alter-egos, the authors of all your favorite books, the rules for playing Sudoku.
You are a reader and a knower. You devour books and understand and remember so much of what you take in. You read dictionaries, chapterbooks, my parenting books, and even your Uncle’s comic books. Your bed is always piled high with books and hardly a place to sleep, but that’s the way you like it.
You like to reason things out. You want explanations for everything and you always repeat them back to me in your own words. You like lists and order and routine. You like your quiet time, much to your sisters’ dismay, and you need to have “alone time” every day. Numbers make sense to you intuitively, which stupefies me. And you are determined in all the best and worst ways, and you can almost always figure out a way to make things happen for you.
Right now you are embracing all things pink, which is a challenge for me sometimes but I try to rise to the occasion. You love to dress up and pretend your name is Rose. You are convinced that a five year old should certainly be allowed to wear high heels and you remind me of that fact almost hourly. You hardly ever wear pants anymore, but you don’t mind playing in the mud even when you’re wearing a skirt.
You are silly and mischievious. You like to hide from me and you like to hide things from me. If the keys are missing, or a card out of my wallet, or a pair of shoes, I can almost always count on you to yell “April Fools” and pull them out of some odd place like the washing machine or the potato bin. You make me laugh all the time.
You like to snuggle. You love to tickle and be tickled. And you adore both of your sisters with all your heart. You are quick to notice what they need, to decipher their cries and babbles, and to lead them along by the hand. You play Mama to Ada and couldn’t be sweeter with her. You are still working out those sibling rivalries and jealousies with Eila, as is to be expected, but at the end of the day you don’t hesitate to tell her that you love her and that she is your best friend.
Getting to Five has been so much fun! I love every second of our days together and I feel so honored to be your Mama. Everyday you teach me how to be a mother, how to be a better person, how to love with all my heart. Everyday you make me thankful.
This is a milestone birthday my dear. We’ve made it to five, happily together. And this is proof that the days and years will keep coming. I look forward to them even as they bring me to my knees. One day in the years ahead you will want to take your own path and I will see you waving even as your hand lets go of mine. On that day I hope you will know in your heart that though we will always be different, we will always be the same. Those first days when your heart beat next to mine, these days right now that we walk hand in hand are ours to keep.
Five years ago I gave you life. Five years ago you gave my life meaning. You fill my world with light.
I love you my sweet Five year old!
P.S. My sister made the fabulous birthday cake from the January 2011 issue of Martha Stewart, which is also where I got the table decorating idea and the #5 picture wall. I made her birthday skirt and my mom made the fabulous pink princess dress for her dress-up collection. Pink was the order of the day, though I did get permission from the Birthday Girl to sneak in a little red here and there. (She only let the green+orange birthday crown slide because it is the one I handmade for her and she’s worn it every birthday thus far – phew!).