Flora, I have been grappling for weeks with this letter to you on this, the occasion of your fifth birthday.
To which you would respond, “What does grabpling mean?”
And that sums up you, at 5.
This promises to be an extraordinary year for you. I know that they say that 7 is the ‘age of reason’. But it is only the age of reason, I suspect, because 5 is the age of ‘figuring stuff out.’ (I further suspect that 6 is more of 5, with actual reading.)
Part of my grappling of course is for ME, for having to wrap my head around the fact that five years have passed since you came, eyes wide open, into this world.
The other part of my grappling has to do with YOU. You’ve gone from that little loaf of bread (6 pounds, 2 ounces) to a lanky, chatty girl, curious about just about anything in front of your face.
You, like, have opinions. Maybe not fully formed ones, maybe not about religion or politics (although you have declared that church is boring). You have clearly stated wants, from your favorite meal to your desire to help me make said meal to the clear wish of what we should do after the meal (which usually consists of having a treat and then drawing).
You draw cats and chihuahua dogs (really tall ones) and people and rainbows. You write words now. I’ve recently watched you write, entirely on your own, “cat”, “love Flora”, and “No Kate”. (We should probably talk about that last one.)
We have conversations, often inadvertently funny ones. You tell me stories that make sense. You remember stuff I tell you (unless it’s to finish cleaning up the room). You ask questions, many of which, if I do not want to resort to a) making things up or b) admitting I don’t know, we have to Google so that I can answer them.
You know how to use the computer to play games (usually Curious George). You know a lot, like that red and blue make purple, and 1 + 1 = 2, and that clouds are rain before it’s raining, and that today is your birthday.
You’re sweet and helpful a lot of the time. (Sometimes you still are, decidedly, not.) You are, most of the time, a good big sister.
I’m tearing up as I write this, of course, because I never expected to be here, to have a daughter such as you, you beautiful, brilliant little person. Because I never expected to be so blessed and so lucky. So loved.
I love you, Flora-bean. Happy birthday.