This week, my baby – my sweet little 8-pound 1-ounce, 19-inch long bundle of bliss – turns five. FIVE. It’s such a milestone year. She’s no longer a baby, for sure. Not even a toddler. She’s school age. She’s a big girl now.
It breaks my heart a little. But I’m coming around.
When Julia was a baby, I admit I used to feel sorry for mothers of older children. How sad, I thought, that they don’t get to pick up and hold their babies, kiss chubby little cheeks, sing lullabies to sleep. Poor them, I thought. Lucky me.
I also remember thinking, what does one even do with a 6-year-old, a 9-year-old? I’m not even interested in 6-year-olds. I just want this baby of mine to stay a baby.
My husband was always eager to see what would come next. He was looking forward to watching her take her first steps, go to school, learn to read. Me, I just wanted to hold her in my arms.
Well, guess what? Despite my efforts, she grew up.
And you know what? My husband was right. It is pretty cool.
She’s constantly learning new things. She loves school. She devours books. She watched in wonderment as caterpillars turned into butterflies. She plays board games with me. She’s starting to write her name and her letters and numbers. She has friends.
She’s discovering what an amazing world we live in.
She’s starting to think for herself and have her own ideas. She knows what she likes and doesn’t like. She has opinions. She has a sense of humor. She’s her own little person.
And the potential I see is overwhelming. When I peek through the window into her dance class or hear her sounding out words, my heart nearly bursts with pride. Every day she amazes me.
It’s also a little overwhelming to think that it’s my responsibility alone as a single mother to give her a good starting place as she moves forward – to teach her to be a good person, to be kind and generous, to stand up for herself and others, to love herself and to be confident and strong, and to dream big and work hard to get there.
While I’m working on that tall order and doing my best to set a good example, I’ll enjoy the other perks of having a 5-year-old: no more diapers, no more diaper bags, no more bottles, no more formula, less crap to pack every time I walk out the door, putting the cute knickknacks back out without risk of them being broken, being able to have actual conversations, movie nights, lunch dates and having a shopping buddy and someone who loves Tidewater rolls as much as I do.
Happy birthday, sweet girl.
Can’t wait to see what’s next.