Five. Five. five. My daughter is five. My first born, blonde baby girl. My blondie-blue. Five years old. Five is the scary age when you really can't kid yourself anymore, she is not a baby. Not even close. Of course you, my love, never really were.
I still marvel at how you never were a baby at all. You looked like one, sounded like one. But you just didn't quite fit. Those blue eyes knew more than you could express, and the frustration drove us all mad until your language erupted and then, it settled. You are now so calm, collected, and so intuitive. You don't like blood but you rush to doctor any wound. Your body is becoming strong, graceful, and resilient. You are so eager to read and write, draw and paint. You come home everyday begging to do homework, that I have to usually create as most kindergarteners don't have much to do.
Kindergarten. Now some strange woman I barely know spends far more hours with you than I do every week. The endless days of lazy mornings with blueberry pancakes and pillow forts have been replaced with a strict breakfast to bus schedule that we struggle to keep. I have to watch you walk away from me, happily, to start your day without me. I don't know the names of all your friends, nor the details of your day. You share a little, but I know you well enough to know there is so much more that goes on. But it doesn't belong to me anymore, it's only yours. And you decide what pieces I get. I want them all, but it's not up to me.
As much as I wish I could be by your side, I am so grateful for who you are, because I trust in you more than I thought I would. I can look into your eyes and see how much older you are. You keep me at bay with your shrouded mysteries, but, in your moments of half sleep or early states of awakening, I get a glimpse of that little girl, who whispers words of love in your vulnerable sleepiness. It leaves me aching for more of you, but all too soon you are again veiled in maturity you shouldn't posess. I'm quite sure you did not inherit this trait from either of your parents.
You are so appreciative of everything, the simplest token, a nickname of praise. I see you cherish these things without gloating or boasting, but with that way you smile and try to conceal it by curling your lips in. That's when I can see how happy you are. But you try so hard to hide it. I wish I knew why you felt the need to hide your joy, I so love to see it in your face.
You just started school, and yet I found hidden pages of your notebook where your are phonetically spelling out words, like "kosand" (cousin). You don't want us to know what you do, on those secret pages. Like your joy, you're keeping your intelligence cloaked within yourself, and I find myself wondering just how much more there is under those blue eyes of yours.
I look at you now as I looked at you years ago, knowing there is so much more to your mind than you will ever share with me. I'm so incredibly curious, but so overwhelmingly proud. I admire your strength, your intelligence, your pure, kind soul, and all the things that continue to make me wonder just how much more there is inside my little girl.
I hope you always know I am hear to help you carry that burden, whatever it may be. You will be one of the great ones, who carries the weight of the world's problems in your arms, and I will always be there to hold you in mine, whenever you allow it.
Happy birthday, my beautiful old soul.