Five years ago exactly, we were home form the hospital, lying in bed, trying to figure each other out. There was nothing else in the world more beautiful than being with you, right there, in that bed, surrounded by people we love.
How are you at 5? You love to build. The first thing you do when you get to daycare is run to the carpet and start building ‘ships’ with your friends with those plastic modular connectors.
And I don’t want to project, but I think you might be having your first crushes. Remind me to tell you about the little girl at your birthday party you tried to impress with your skating pratfalls. Should the time come when you are really interested in girls, let’s hope you’ve debunked the “little girls don’t poop” idea you got in your head this year.
You are lucky to have your dad’s effortless sporto gene. You leap right in there with the big kids with any sport.. The best part? You really like to play hard, and you love it if you win, but you shrug it off with a smile if you lose. I love that. It’s so hard to be a good sport at 5.
Suddenly, this month you are reading - sounding out words with a mixture of skill and guesswork. Where did that come from? You’re not even in Senior Kindergarten yet. Is this supposed to be happening now?
Your vocabulary is massive - you just genuinely like to play with language, testing new words and phrasing out where no other words will fit (you also have a fake language that sounds distinctly like Elvish from Lord of the Rings. But I digress).
You remember song lyrics, poetry. We can sit in the car for half an hour going over a really pretty poem, and you will repeat it back to me perfectly and I try not to get too excited about that because I don’t want to ruin the fun (and be that obnoxious parent who teaches pre-schooler Shakespeare sonnets). You love the Bone comic books and Roald Dahl novels. I can’t wait to curl up with you on the sofa, each of us reading our own book. Is that a weird fantasy? The whole family in one room reading together?
You are an awesome artist with an eccentric style – you often start drawing feet first, and connect everything later. It’s wild. And beautiful.
You want to know magic tricks that will astound people. You keep saying “close your eyes” so that you can pull off some “magic trick” when our eyes are finally open. Usually you don’t even know what that trick will be before you begin. Truthfully, it’s getting tedious. There, I said it. By the time you read this, I hope you’ll have a sense of humour about it. Enough with asking us to close our eyes all the time!
You climbed into the bath with me the other morning. “This is nice” you said, as you stretched out beside me and we listened to music. I still wrap you in a towel after your bath and sing you a song. It’s less your special song, these days, but more “Aeoroplane Over the Sea” or “Buckets of Rain”..
Little Red Wagon
Little Red Bike
I ain’t no monkey, but I know what I like.
When grandma was sick last year everything changed in our home. It must have been really hard for you to know what to do, how to feel. I ask you about it sometimes, but despite all your amazing words, it’s hard to find the right ones to assign to feelings.That doesn't change as you get older. It's still hard to describe feelings.
At grandma’s funeral, you wordlessly came up to me and covered me with kisses after I gave the eulogy. And the other day, on the chalkboard, “I drew you these beautiful flowers so that you could look at them when you feel sad about grandma”.
There are not words to describe what it is to have you in my life, how much easier, real-er, and happier everything is. The other day you were playing with the ‘I love you up to the sky’ game and you said, “I love you so much that it’s nothing.”
I worry, sometimes, that in painting this portrait of near-perfection both here and in real life, that maybe there is too much praise, too much love. That you will get the dreaded only child syndrome, and never be able to take criticism. But for now, I’m hedging my bets on the idea that knowing you are smart, fun, and so ridiculously cherished and loved will make you feel secure, confident, generous and filled with love.