Thursday, May 3, 2012

Fifth Birthday

Today my daughter turns five. Five years old. Somehow having a child this age brings an air of legitimacy to this whole parenting thing. I often feel like I'm still learning the ropes of motherhood, still testing the waters, still hoping that I'm getting things right (enough).
I've been feeling this way for five years, give or take a few days when I either felt that I had my act together entirely (I am mother, hear me roar) or when I crashed into a deep abyss convinced that I've irrevocably scarred her for life with some horrifying combination of my impatience, my anger management failings, too many chicken nuggets, too much television and one bad haircut where I trimmed her bangs to roughly one centimeter in length.
Despite all this, she's turning out just fine.
Not just fine -- amazing.
Last night I tucked her into bed -- her last ever tuck in as a four-year-old -- and I laid down beside her. I told her about the first moment I laid eyes on her: how I knew that she was amazing then, and how five years later I continue to be utterly convinced of the very same thing.

They steal your hearts, these kids. You're never the same. For five years I've been entirely undone.

I wish I had started this tradition earlier, heads up to those moms out there with younger ones. But, better late than never. Below is the letter I wrote to Talia in honor of her fifth birthday.

To  Talia on the eve of your fifth birthday --

These last few weeks I’ve been struggling with this birthday. Five just seems like such a big age. I think part of me was still able to convince myself that you were little when you turned four. Five feels like a milestone. I can hardly believe five years have gone by since I first laid eyes on you, my sweet girl. I remember the first time I held you in my arms, the rush of love was overwhelming. They say you don’t really know love until you have a child and I definitely agree with that. Watching you grow and change over these last five years has been such a blessing. You are an amazing girl, full of excitement and wonder. You have a way with people, of captivating them with your very essence. I remember Daddy telling me all about how you had a whole crowd of people roaring with laughter as they listened to you tell knock knock jokes at a fish fry. I remember looking on as you watched your video from Santa, watching you revel in the wonder of Christmas. I’ll never forget all the times I’ve watched you in the rear view mirror singing along with the radio. I cherish every time you tell me you love me with your whole heart.
I love you more than I could possibly express in words. You are my perfect girl, my gift and my blessing. Happy birthday my Talia.

Love with my whole heart, Mom

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