I can barely bring myself to type the words.
You are five.
The tiny six pound baby I met five years ago has become a sassy, sensitive, curious, energetic, smart, silly five year old. You are thriving in your Montessori Pre-Kindergarten program; you've learned to write your own name, are working on upper and lower case letters, and are determined to reach your goal of counting to 100. Your teacher tells us that your are polite and respectful in the classroom. You enjoy playing "school" and teaching your father and I songs and dances or "reading" to us for "group time."
You are a loving and playful big sister, and your patience with your little brother is unmatched. That is, with him, you actually have some! You love to teach him, and are quick to jump his defense and remind us that he is a baby and he is still learning.
Your favorite foods are pasta, cereal, green peppers, apples, and ice cream. You love to check the mail and help around the kitchen. You thrive on routine and have an urgent need to prepare for what lies ahead, always asking what we'll be doing tomorrow and double and triple and quadruple checking our plans.
You're a bold and bright child; you can take command of a room instantly, and it's not unusual for people to find themselves unwittingly following your every direction without realizing it. Some may you call you bossy; I prefer to describe you as having excellent leadership skills and an assertive personality.
This morning, we woke up to the first snowfall of the season, and you insisted on going out to play in it immediately, at 6:30 am. You had no interest in the balloons and streamers your father hung with care; no interest in the brightly adorned packages that awaited you. You were interested only in snow pants, boots, and dancing in the snow. I hope you never lose that determination, and that your zest for the here and now stays with you always.
You take after many strong females before you. In your life, there will be people who shush you. People who criticize you for being too intimidating. People who tell you that ladies don't act like that. People who fear the power you emit. Do not bow to those people. Show those people that you are proud of who you are and what you do. Be gracious and kind, but firm in your convictions.
I look forward to the great things you will do in this life. I hope that you will always be as unabashedly YOU as you are now. I hope that your fiery spirit and gentle compassion will grow stronger as the years go by. I hope that your heart will continue to be filled with wacky songs, and your feet with herky jerky dance moves, and that you will OWN it like you do right now. And I hope that the next five years don't fly by quite as quickly as these last five have.
Happy 5th birthday, my baby girl.