I am a day late. Please don't ever think it has anything to do with anything other than how amazing and crazy life has been these past few months. My beautiful five year old girl. You still have the face of a baby. I look back at pictures of your first, second, third and fourth birthday today, and while you have changed some, I can still see that sweet baby face. You look the same. The sweet baby cheeks have shrunk, your hair is less wispy but still covers your face in soft strings that somehow never seem to affect you at all, and I have to hold myself back from brushing them out of your face. But I shouldn't, and I usually don't. As much as I want to smooth that hair, that hair is you. And you are so perfect on your own. You even cut your own hair this year. I waited in shock when I saw it, and you just calmly replied that you wanted to cut it, so you did. Very matter-of-fact. Because that's you.
Your voice is still sweet, and accented with the sing-songy way young children speak. Your voice is still so much a baby, but your words, ha! You have us all reeling with laughter and pure amazement with your incredible vocabulary. We don't know where or how you learn it, but you accurately use language far beyond our expectations, and I'm thrilled and proud and amazed all at once. You are so clever, you never mispronounce or misuse these words. This makes me think that you hear things, study them, analyze them until you're sure it's right. When you speak, you don't boast. You just calmly and correctly use these words as though you always have. You aren't showy, and I think our amazement even embarrasses you a little.
Your preschool teacher laughed as she told me when you reported a student friend for "being inappropriate". At four years old. You are so curious as to how things work. You also have a wise ass comment for everything, like just tonight when I said you can have one toy in your back packs, but nothing else. Of course you had to eyeball me and say " what about our lunch boxes? You said nothing else?".
That is exactly what I love so much about you. Don't ever change that.
You love routine and fairness. You'll defend your big sister and give her anything she wants, even if there's only one and it's yours, you truly want to see her happy. You will, however, defend yourself as well. I'm still not sure who starts it, but usually it ends after you both get in some hits.
I never imagined what you would be like after your baby sister was born. I thought there must be some jealousy. It's only natural. You were, after all, our baby for four years. You still crawled into bed with us at night. I worried so much you would resent the baby, beg for attention, act out or worse of all, feel sad. But you blew us away again. How could I have ever thought you would do anything different? You took to your sister as though she was always part of our lives. You loved her instantly and completely. You have never once shown any jealousy, any frustrations. Even as the mature adult, the experienced mother, I get frustrated plenty. But not you. Even when I have nothing to give you, even when you need me and I just can't, you never get upset. You simply and gracefully accept it and offer even more love. You inspire me so much. I want to be more like you.
You are deeply empathetic. You are incredibly clever. You are adorably expressive. You are funny. Really funny. Your humor is goofy but clever and well-timed. You are giving, selfless, and kind. You are the brightest light in my day. Your eyes, your voice, your words, your hugs.
You are five years old. You are my baby. You are love.