It’s been a few days now, and I’ve had some time to process. You are 5.
It always comes as a surprise how very special your birthday is to me. Each year I expect the impact to lessen a little. But it doesn’t. Even if it doesn’t strike me right away, it’s importance seeps into my very being. I’m happy, amazed, overjoyed and saddened. All at the same time.
So if I seem a little crazier than usual around your birthday (or you catch me eating even more of “Mom’s chocolate” stash), that’s why. I’m holding in a whirlwind of emotions, and doing my very best to make your birthday about you.
Five seems to be bringing with it a lot of changes. You are at this strange place in life where you both want me to be there and desperately want me to step back. You want to be independent and yet need the security of knowing that I’m there, just a few steps behind.
Needless to say, this love-me-hate-me process has brought with it a lot of conflict and frustrations. For both of us. I can see you pulling away. I can feel it. My heart is tugging you back. The little boy hidden inside of you wants to run back, and never leave my side. But we are both learning to let go.
Because go you must.
At five our relationship is changing. The silly little things that used to make you giggle…zerbets on your tummy, snuggles after bath time…seem to be absent from our daily life. I miss those moments. I miss them something fierce. But I love where our relationship is going. How it’s growing and changing. I love the conversations that we have about transformers and ninjas, your very best friends, your life at school. I love that you share your bad dreams with me, days after you had them. I love that you feel secure enough in our relationship to test each and every boundary.
I love you.
At five, you know all of your letters by sight and by sound. You can write them, with just a little guidance. You print your full first and last name without a moments hesitance. You are just beginning to sound out words and add and subtract numbers. You are so very proud of each of these accomplishments.
I’m so very proud of you.
At five, you refuse to do anything but shower. By yourself. That change alone signifies how much you’ve grown recently. Signifies your independence. Signifies your stubbornness since you still fight each and every time you have to shower. But I refuse to let you be the smelly kid at school, so I battle with you, and I always win. No kid of mine is going to be the smelly kid.
At five, you still have a touch of shyness and insecurity about you. This is something that comes from me. Something I 100% understand and am infinitely frustrated by. I want so badly for you to be able to jump into any situation with confidence and ease. And yet you hang back, easing in at your own speed. I get it. That’s me, To a T.
At 5 you have finally outgrown the little stuffed Elmo that was attached to your hip since you were 2. In Elmo’s place is Scoopie, a little stuffed ice cream cone from Culver’s, which you picked out on a “Gram’s Date” one Tuesday evening. You have also grown attached to a certain blankie, a light blue blanket covered in trucks. While you can certainly sleep without these items of comfort, you much prefer to have them snuggled up against your face, protecting you from those bad dreams.
At five kindergarden is looming in our future. Full day school, five days a week. Our days together will be coming to an end. Half days at 4-K has been good. For both of us. But school all day? I don’t know if I’m ready for that.
But I never know if I’m ready for you to change and grow and become the person you are. And yet that hasn’t stopped you. And somehow I find the courage to let you go, litte by little.
Happy 5th birthday kiddo. No matter how old you are (or how old you think you are) you will always be my baby.