I think I pushed it far from my mind, if I'm being honest with myself. Something about this age both excites me to no end, and terrifies me. Something about this age, turning 5, just feels so large, so monumental, like I have a real kid now. Something about this age makes me feel like I'm no longer a Rookie in this parenting gig. And yet--most days I still have no clue what I'm doing.
I know there have been a lot of days recently I've said, "but I remember you as my baby--I can feel you in my arms, so little, so new-..." I've looked at you and our eyes meet, and you've seen mine well up with tears and you keep hearing us say, "how did this happen? how are we here already? how are you so big?" And you smile, with that tender little smile that makes your eyes squinty and twinkle a little--and when we ask you to stay little you giggle and tell us just how gosh darn excited you are to be turning five.
The truth is--the very truth of the matter is that we are excited that you are turning five, too. Even though I may not act like it all the time. Even though the thought of it turns this non-crier into a crier at the drop of a hat. Even though I ask how you got big, so fast, over and over again until you roll your eyes and say, "Mommmm". Even when I show you baby pictures that pop up in my timehop every day and swear that this cannot be. The truth is we are happy--because we are so lucky that we've had five wonderful years with you in it, Ems.
You are the baby that knit your daddy and I together in a way we weren't before, making us all a little family.
You are the toddler who we helicoptered over at the park and made sure was safe from bumps and bruises.
You are the big girl who continually surprises us, teaches us, reminds us of God's love for us every single day.
You are a delight. Simply put--a joy.
This year is huge. For you, for me. For us. You've championed through big changes and you've transitioned with such grace and ease. You have taught us to slow down and enjoy our surroundings, always noticing every bird song through the air, or strange ocean plant that's washed up on the shore. You're so great at making new friends and being confident in who you are as a person. This makes the thought of big changes like Kindergarten just slightly easier, because I know you got this. Because you know you got this.
Living life with you as my first daughter is special and good. Every day I anticipate your gentle smile and freckly face coming up to me whispering 'g'morning, mommy' and giving me unforgettable hugs. Every time you spontaneously tell me you love me or I'm the 'best mom ever' I adore it because I know this won't last forever even though I wish it would.
You've always had a way, ever since you were teeny tiny, of making people around you feel loved. I can attest, it's truer than true. This is such a gift. You are such a treasure.
As we go onto 5--you and I, and Daddy and Lucy---(because we're all in this together, you know), let's make it good. No, the best ever. I've heard 5 is good, but let's blow it out the water, it's gonna be friggin' great.
Happy birthday sweet Emeline Kay. You are loved, loved, loved.