I suppose you'll be hearing this from me each year on your birthday, but somehow it is more true as you turn five than it has been in a while: I can't believe we have reached this milestone. It seems cliche to say it, but I blinked and we are here.
It truly seems just yesterday that I was patting and singing to you in my belly.
That we were meeting you for the first time and learning to be parents.
When you were born, it was physically difficult for me to be away from you. I had to force myself to let other people hold you, or take my eyes away from your squishy cheeks and scrunched expressions. You were a marvel to me; a miracle.
Although the separation is more requisite these days, the truth is that I am still so very enamored of you. There are days when you challenge me to my very core, but it is no overstatement to say that watching you grow and experience the world is the greatest joy in my life.
This year has been a particularly significant one for you. From smiley, delightful baby, to curious, inquisitive toddler, and now into a little girl who is amazing in so many ways. You are empathetic. You are thoughtful. You are brave. You are so compassionate; your soul aches to heal the hurts in the world and in others. You see with such clarity things that others miss: possibility, beauty, and the treasure that is a sincere and full-hearted faith.
You have wild, curly hair that refuses to be tamed. You love to sing when you are supposed to be sleeping. Your heart reaches out to the Lord. You adore your baby sister, and are consistently good and patient with your brother. You are my little mother, and love to care for everyone, whether they be real, imaginary or plastic baby dolls.
You encountered your first genuine struggles this year, as you have had to deal with the frustrating reality that you simply can't be good at everything, all the time. I know that we will continue to battle this perfectionism you come by so naturally, because you and I are very much alike. I also have faith that the same determination that drives you to excel will be a transformative strength as you walk this long journey called life. And we'll both work together to learn to give ourselves a little much-needed grace.
Can I tell you a secret?
I love being your mommy.
Okay, you're right... it's no secret. I tell you all the time. It will always be true, no matter the path that lies ahead of us. Two things you'll never lose as long as you have breath in your body - and even long, long after - are the love of God and the love of your momma. Those two constants cannot be altered. I pray you will embrace them both with as much enthusiasm and joy as you do today.
So much love on your 5th birthday, and everyday. I am so much better for having spent these five years with you.