a complete handful

As of today, Caroline will for the first time utilize her thumb to visually represent her age. Today our baby turns five years old. This is the point in writing this that I read and re-read that line over and over, staring at it blankly. Go ahead, you can do it to, I'll wait. I'm patient like that.

Yesterday, on the morning of her last day of being four years old, I snuggled with her in bed a bit longer than is advisable for a Friday morning. This later required "breakfast in the car" and resulted in a very sticky strawberry nurti grain bar covered brother, but it was worth it. I stared at her profile, tracing her button nose and lips against the window shade behind her. I inhaled the smell of her curls. I pulled her body close and the T Rex she had received the night before from uncle bubba roared making us both jump and explode into a chorus of giggles. We played a rousing game of "poke sleeping daddy" and when I couldn't wait another moment because good lord were the little einsteins almost to the point of rescuing the princess puppet already? I reluctantly pulled myself away from her and to the shower.

It's been a long week for various reasons both professional and personal. Steve's been trying to talk serious work stuff and I have been all, "hold on, I'm cutting these pennant flags." He's been all "what's a pennant flag?" and I've been all, "why don't you follow me on pinterest?"

Caroline's fifth birthday exploded into an epic event, involving nearly all her friends from school, short people belonging to our friends, and adoring family. There was entertainment, decor, a charitable theme, and two birthday cakes because BJ's wont do white whipped frosting on a full sheet cake. Last night I started to wonder what to include in this post and it occurred to me that perhaps maybe all this party planning was a way for me to cope with my utter denial that I have a five year old. Just maybe.

When I heard her whine from her bed this morning, instead of waiting for her to come to pattering into our room, heft her stuffed friends who slept with her up onto the bed, and then hoist her body up and between Steve and I, I jumped out of bed and went to get her myself. I had been up since six worrying about the party anyway. She jumped into my arms, locked eyes with me, the pregnant pause, and then, "FIVE!" She beamed sunshine from her soul, from the deepness of her curly hair covered eyes to the grip of her legs around my waist. We lay in bed us three for a few minutes and then I got up and retrieved her brother who immediately said, "Caro-ine Birthday!"

She had the most amazing time at her birthday, surrounded by her school friends and most of her extended family. There were nametags, doggie treat bags, popcorn, ringmaster mustaches on sticks, clown noses, a silly juggling clown of course, a real live bunny, face paint, balloons, and ice cream. Steve and I feel like we pulled off a birthday miracle!

I watched her soak in applause as the special helper to our entertainment with a smile on her face. Just a year ago she would have needed one of us to sit beside her, shield her from the attention, and the cheers. No, this year our Caroline sat on the sofa, piled between friends, legs crossed. Friends.

When everyone sang "Happy Birthday," I had to hold back tears. Our big girl, kindergarten bound, all the faces of the kids we have come to know, her first not introduced by mom and dad friends, singing to her in unison. It was just so overwhelmingly wonderful.

Before I put her to bed we had to wipe off the painted rainbow and heart from her face. The tears rolled down her face and she didn't have to tell me that it wasn't because of the paint. We both didn't want this day to end.  She cried on my shoulder and when she faced the mirror to brush her teeth, the sight of her freshly cleansed cheeks made her look away.

I took her to bed and decided this was the night I would tell her about the day she was born. I told her how much we loved her before we met her. I whined to her about her impossibly late arrival.  I marveled at how beautiful she was when she was born. I told her I had loved her the instant I met her with all of my being and everyday since, and that for the rest of eternity she would be always be my most favorite girl.

You know you love your babies the moment you meet you, you love them more and more each day. & then one day, you can talk with them, joke with them, tell them about the day they were born and they understand that you are telling them more than details, that you are pouring out your soul and they will reach up and wipe away your own grown up tear. The snuggle you have at bedtime with a five year old girl is very different than the snuggle you have with a one, two, three, or four year old girl. It's every bit as special, but so much more. I could tell in that snuggle tonight that we may be oil and water at times, but she and I will always be a team. You and I Caroline, we will have some tough times I know, you will do things and I will do things and we will slam doors and give each other the cold shoulder, but at the end of the day, let's always have that goodnight moment where everything is as it should be.

Happy birthday big girl. You amaze me and make me a better  me.

1 comment:

  1. BEAUTIFUL! What a lucky girl she is to have you as her mommy!