The prime purpose of being four is to enjoy being four – of secondary importance is to prepare for being five. ~Jim Trelease, The Read-Aloud Handbook, 1985
“Your loss is her gain.” – My mom.
Avery has most definitely loved being 4 and prepared for being 5, but what about me? I’m not ready. I’m not prepared. I am in no way, shape, or form desiring of my baby to be 5. It may seem melodramatic. It may be over-the-top, but I don’t want her to be 5. And I know that there are moms out there that feel the same way. I want her to be who she is now for much longer than she will be. How could something that seemed decades away when she was born have happened already?! The truth is, that I must accept that her sweet little life is not about me. It’s about her. I am quickly coming to accept that while I mourn the passing of her babyhood I must at least put on the face of excitement for her childhood and for the upcoming events of her life. My views on education, the world, and religion will make a huge impact on hers. And so it is. She will be officially five in a matter of hours and my heart is braced for impact. My face has a smile and my voice has enthusiasm, and my hope is that if I fake it long enough, I truly will be happy that she is turning five. When that happens, I know that no matter how I was feeling at the time, my sweet, smart, lively, simply fantastic little girl will have had a wonderful birthday.
My darling first born daughter,
We have been through so much together, so much since your surprising conception. You have endured hardships that were not of your own doing. You have overcome obstacles that were placed in front of you by someone else. You love and forgive like no child I have ever met. You have so suddenly erupted out of babyhood and into the whirlwind of a girl that you are today! You are so very, very special, Avery. Your perception of people and your world is so often far wiser and clearer than mine, and your love for life is so evident to all. You amaze me in so many ways. You love God and you love other people, and your nurturing has already proven fruitful, fruitful for me. Thank you for loving me as you do, for forgiving me as you do, for correcting me at just the right moment and in just the right, respectful way of a child. Thank you for being unique and for holding your own, for behaving so well, obeying so well, and for being so willing to please. You have been and continue to be the most wonderful surprise I have ever received, and I am privileged to know at least some of the reasons God blessed us with you when He did, in such a time that we were poorer than poor. Throughout our family turmoil, you held steady. You aged, but you were always my little girl. You comforted me. You served your family without even knowing. You are a wonder and a miracle to us, Avery. I hope that you will look back on your childhood with “happy tears” as I do and know that no matter how much I will miss you at this age, I will love you always as you are, where you are, and for who you are. Happy 5th Birthday to my first-born, God-ordained surprise!