Dear Kate: 5

My dearest second daughter,

Putting this letter together for you on this, the occasion of your fifth birthday presents its difficulty.

I don’t want to compare you to your siblings, not because you (or they) may look bad in comparison, but simply because you are incomparable. You are a force and a personality onto yourself.

We have made progress this year, and we (okay *I*) have made missteps. I do most of my parenting dancing with you. Because even though you are my middle child, I don’t want to treat you like my middle child (whatever that means). I want to give you the attention you need so that you don’t have to go out of your way to get my attention. Mileage varies.

You make an impression on everyone you meet. Sometimes literally.

Your teachers have nothing but praise for you. You have no shortage of energy or personality — except when you are sick. As a matter of fact, it’s about the only way we know you are sick: you are still, prone on the couch, quiet.

I know people reading this blog who have met you don’t believe such a creature — a still, quiet Kate — can exist. You are unforgettable, my dear.

You are also clever, mischievous, fun-loving, and you love to make people laugh. And yet you are not a people-pleaser. You don’t seek approval; you seek notice, on your own terms.

Our favorite thing to do together is cook. You are so focused in the kitchen, and you listen to me give direction. It’s our “thing”. Someday it may be pedicures, but for now I like the baking.

You are full to bursting. With life, with ideas, with things to tell me, with things to do. With love, love, and love.

I love you, whole-heartedly, right back. Happy birthday, baby girl.

Hugs and kisses,