Today you are five years old. Five! Can you handle it? Can you? (Trick question. I know you can. You've been counting sleeps until your birthday for weeks now.)
Such a momentous occasion deserves one step further back down memory lane.
I'm not going to do that thing I always do, which is lament the passage of time. Five years have gone by quickly, that is true. But now that we have come upon five, it seems clear to me that all those parents before me knew what they were talking about when, as I struggled through the baby years, they said the best was yet to come. You're a little lady now, your own person. And what a beautiful person you are.
A little about you: You are So. Much. Fun. Everything you do, whether it's walking to the park or reading your books at night, or going to school, or spending time with your friends, or even a trip to the supermarket, it is done with what I can only describe as Anna Joy. You love everything. You love everyone. You trust everyone. You see beauty and happiness in everyone and everything.
It is a sight, Bubbie, because I have bad news for you. You know those movies you don't want to watch, because you're scared there might be a bad guy that might give you bad dreams? Well, those movies aren't nearly as bad as the real world can be. Someday, I'll tell you the week you turned five was a week of global tragedy. Of cruelty, disaster, and then more cruelty on top of that. Being a woman in her thirties right now, a mom of two beautiful children, I'm torn between the world in which we live and the world in which YOU live. I used to get frustrated when, as a teacher, I would see parents shielding their children from the world. But now, I get it. I completely get it. I want you to live in five-year-old bliss for as long as possible.
Slowly but surely, I'm starting to understand that I'll never master this parenting thing. I will never be a perfect mom, a perfect wife, a perfect woman for that matter. But I can promise you one thing: whatever ups and downs the world has in store for us, YOU-- exactly the YOU you are-- have been a blessing beyond anything I could have imagined for my life. I'm so proud of the wonderful little person you are.
So happy, happy birthday to my fun-loving, silly-song-singing, fart-joke-loving Bubbie Bubba Roo. Your happiness is infectious. Your heart is generous. You are everything hopeful in this messed up world, and because of you, I have hope for the future.