My Miss M.
Five. Five! A kindergartener. A little girl. Not, in any way, a baby.
But it’s still hard for me to think about your birthday without remembering your actual day of birth, and the exhaustion and exhilaration of that long night’s journey into day. I remember the fear and the thrill, the confusion and the triumph, the pain and the delicious end of it. I remember reaching out to you, taking you out of your bed and pulling you into my own, where you slept in a warm flanneled bundle like you were still part of my own body.
When I see pictures from later in your first months, my memory is fuzzier. It’s harder to recall each stage of your growing up because you are, at any given moment, completely yourself at that exact time. You are so you. I admire and cherish your presence, the openness of your heart and the certainty of your perspective. Even when that certainty openly conflicts with reality or my own preferences, I respect that you are strong-minded and confident. I couldn’t ask for better qualities in a daughter, especially when they are joined with your sense of fairness and empathy. Senses that sometimes manifest in unpredictable ways these days, but that I know will be refined and strengthened as you grow.
Our bond can tense and slack several times within a day, or even within an hour, but I want you to know, today and every day, that I am always holding on to my end. Usually breathlessly, either from trying to keep up with you or just because I’m agog at your beauty and brains, but always tightly.
Happy birthday, my peanut, my dear heart, my best girl. I love you so much.