Five years ago when you came into my life everyone told me the same thing… this time will fly. I was peppered with stories about how it seemed like just yesterday that their daughter was born and now she is going to college (or driving or married or in rehab, depending on the friend). Even when random strangers approached me they would spend forever commenting on how cute you were, but their valediction would invariably include something under their breath about savoring these days because they will be gone before I knew it. Everyone warned me you would be fully grown in the blink of an eye.
I was shocked the world was filled with so many liars.
Every morning I walked downstairs with you in my arms, fed you, laid you on your play mat and pulled out my book of baby games. We navigated the book one page at a time until one or both of us lost interest and then moved onto the next. I usually had to stand up and stick my head out the window a couple of times to stave off the delicious temptation of sleep that would begin to wrap itself around my head like a comfortable blanket.
It wasn’t until we were finished playing that I would allow myself to look at the clock. “Please be at least 8am,” I thought, shuffling into the kitchen. I was lucky if it was past 7:15. Target opened at 9 and I could usually sit in the parking lot for only about 15 minutes before you voiced your disapproval of sitting in a parked car.
Every day was like 100 years.
I distinctly remember your first birthday party. Six months pregnant with your little sister, I walked inside from the chaos to make you a bottle before your nap. You followed me in, hot on my heels; I could hear by that exhilarated panting noise you made when you crawled with a mission. Your cute little head peeked up at me as I held my finger under the sink, waiting for the water to turn warm.
I filled the bottle, turned around and you were five. I rubbed my eyes but there you stood, wispy strands of long hair liberated from your ponytail framing your face, a smattering of freckles across your nose, asking me if we can get a dog. I watched you skip back outside, listened to your open mouthed laugh, and frantically tried to piece together the last four years.
It’s all a blur, save for a few seemingly insignificant moments played in slow motion. Splitting your lip when you fell at the park. Wearing a lady bug costume swatting a bat at a pinata on Halloween. Teaching yourself how to swing. Coloring at the dining room table. The look on your face as I walked away from you on your first day of pre-school. The only time I ever spanked you, after you ran away from me and out into traffic.
Somehow all of that stuff adds up to five years. I wish I remembered more. Having two little sisters by the time you were 2 1/2 makes a lot of things fuzzy, unfortunately. More often than not things around here are hectic, crazed, tedious and emotional. And I’m trying my best to package it all into a little box packed with a fun childhood for you and your sisters.
You are possibly the most hilarious person I’ve ever met. Your response when you don’t know the answer to something is, “Booty don’t know.” Your favorite animal is a uneecorn and you think flowers are beauteeful.
In a few months you’ll start Kindergarten. I wouldn’t be more terrified if I were throwing you into a pit of werewolves trained in the martial arts. This is most likely thanks to my addiction to the show 16 and Pregnant and Mashable reporting things like Rainbow Parties and new trends in teenagers getting drunk on vodka soaked tampons. Please never do any of those things. God I can feel the hives starting to crawl up my neck. I cannot even start into all of the things I fear for you. Just so you know I have not ruled out the idea of keeping you in the basement in a dog crate until you’re 30.
But there are three things I want you to know right now.
1. 90% of everything is going to suck from this August until you go to college. Then you’ll like life again and probably want to stay in college forever but you’ll have to eventually get a job but don’t worry because then things will be only slightly worse than college but not nearly as bad as before.
2. You are beautiful – on the inside and out. I’ve read a lot of articles recently that say I’m not supposed to tell you that because of psychology or something. I don’t care. You glow. And I pray that you continue to be smart enough to use your powers for good.
3. Enjoy your life – savor every moment – because it’s going to fly by. Except if you have a newborn. Then you will spend a year looking for a stick to poke in your eye.