Tomorrow, you turn five. Sandwiched in between a sister sixteen months older and another sister fourteen months younger, I feel like I have spent the better part of those five years making sure I pay enough attention to you. “Oh, I forgot about Lila” I’ll say to myself approximately ten billion times a day. And then I’ll find you, usually tending to one of your sisters, making sure everyone is well cared for and happy and has an equal number of crackers. That’s the thing about you – you’re always putting everyone else first. Unless popsicles are involved. Then it’s every man for himself and lord help us all if you don’t get the purple one.
You are the first one out of bed, the first one dressed and while your sisters are still rubbing their bleary eyes you’re downstairs pulling the stool to the counter to help me make breakfast. If I don’t beat you down there I’ll usually catch you stealing sips of my coffee. Every morning you wake up ready to take on the world. And every morning when I drop you off at pre-school and watch you run/twirl/skip/dance into the building, not even so much as glancing backward at my half raised hand, I pray the world is ready to take on you.
There is a flame that burns in you so lovely and bright that it makes me wish I could steal a part of it from you and keep it for myself. But then I realize I don’t have to steal it and this is why people are drawn to you; your inner light is infectious. Just being around you makes people happy. You are delightful. When you are well rested and not hungry, you are delightful.
Let’s talk for a minute about your dance moves. I watch myself in the mirror each week at Zumba, and shield my eyes from your Father every time we are on a dance floor, so I know you didn’t come by them honestly. You cha cha cha-ed your way out of my womb and haven’t stopped since. And we’re not talking a little hip shake here or head bob there. We’re talking full throttle, going the distance, stop you in your tracks moves. I have no idea where all that came from but I’m hoping it’s going to make us some money someday.
The past few months have been a little rough for you health-wise, but you have been ever the trooper. Every week we go for your blood draws and you not only don’t flinch, you insist on watching every moment. Ring Pop in one hand and slurpee in the other, your eyes inches away from the long needle as it is placed in your arm. Assuring me it will be okay as I have to look at the ceiling. Sometimes someone will come in to assist your nurse but when they see it’s you they wave their hand in the air and walk away saying, “Oh, it’s the brave one. You don’t need any help.”
Your best friend is Faye, your boyfriend is Everett but you are going to marry Dean. You love to make us laugh and have the most well-timed “Guess what? Chicken butt!” of any pre-schooler that ever lived. You are compassionate, loyal, funny, smart as a whip, sweet, and I simply love you… more than I love… life itself.
And here’s your video. Not your favorite song but sorry… I’m not pairing your adorable little face up with Truffle Butter.