Today, for the very first time in your little life, I missed it. Every year, on June 2nd at exactly 1:30pm, I pull you aside and wish you a Happy Birthday. But today, the moment came and went and I didn’t even notice until over an hour later… you and Milo and I were having far to much fun to care about what minute it was.
It is a true sign of the times and how they have changed for us. In those first few days, we were counting minutes; each one that passed was a success – a step closer to our goals. Counting minutes changed to counting hours. Counting hours changed to days, then weeks. Then came the time that I’d refer to everything, including your age, in months (I’m still cursing that corrected age, btw). 2 years ago was the first time your dad and I started counting in years. You turned 3, and you were moving mountains. But still, I looked at you like a fragile doll. Still, I saw the tiny baby that might not make it home. As your Mom, I think a part of me will always see that, in a way. But it is SO different now.
Today, while you were either riding your scooter, or racing down the slide, or playing happily with your brother in the sand, you turned 5. And for the first time ever, I wasn’t watching the clock. I was watching you. I wasn’t paying attention to every tiny detail. I was paying attention to you. I wasn’t stressing about germs or dangers lurking or the people around us. I was enjoying you.
Baby girl, I need you to know: I so enjoy you. From the moment you entered this world, you’ve been a marvel to behold. You have made me smile bigger than I ever thought possible. You have made me laugh (and cry) harder than ever before. And today, as I watched you, I realized just how incredible you truly are.
Today, I realized (or rather, re-realized, if that is even a word) how kind and generous you are. You came down the stairs and saw your birthday present – the scooter you’ve been wanting for months. You were so genuinely happy, and you remembered to say Thank You to your Dad and me. And then you noticed that Milo was sitting on a scooter, too, because all at once your excitement got even bigger. You looked at me and said, “Mama!!! Look! Milo has a scooter, too! Now we can ride outside together!” The only thing that could have made you happier than getting exactly what you wanted for your birthday was to know that your brother had been taken care of, too. That kid has no clue just how lucky he is (But don’t worry – I’ll make sure he learns it soon.)
Today, I realized the true span of your imagination. You told me at least a dozen stories today. Some of them I understood fully – You and I on a mission to find the dragon and the witch was so much fun. Some of them, however, I don’t think I’ll ever have a clue what you meant… You said to me, in passing, “Mom, I can’t go outside right now, the ballerina tiger needs to go potty.” All I could do was look at you and stutter… “Ok, baby.” This statement will never fully make sense to me, but it made sense to you, so who cares what I think. Your mind races at about a million beats per second and I love hearing about what you are thinking. Maybe you’ll write stories like Mommy. Or maybe you’ll just be the most awesome playmate your kids ever have. I know you are the most awesome one I’ve ever had.
Today, I realized how smart you are. Well, actually, I’ve been slowly realizing it over the last year. Out of nowhere, you come at me with these profound thoughts and insights. Like the time you told me (when I was upset) that, “It’s ok, Mama. God’s watching.” That one blew me out of the water. Or the other day when I miscounted the apples and you corrected me. “No, Mama – there are only seven apples. Not eight.” You were right. You constantly amaze me with your level of intelligence in all things. Today was no exception. For instance, you put sand in Milo’s hair today at the park. You knew it was wrong to do, but you tried it anyway. And when I put you in time-out for doing it, you looked at me with those big blue eyes of yours and said, in the most sickeningly sweet and coy voice, “But Mama, it’s still my birthday.” It took every ounce of will power I had not to laugh. You’d done it because you figured today would be the day you could get away with it… It’s odd, as a mom, when you have to be stern and follow the rules, and then secretly laugh on the inside at how proud you are of the kid that just broke the rules. Because, sweetheart, you are ridiculously sharp.
Abigail, I don’t think even Poppi’s large vocabulary will ever be able to explain to you just how much I adore you. You make me laugh and smile, you make me think, you make me the happiest person on earth sometimes. Yes, sometimes your will power and stubbornness and inability to see things anyway but your own can frustrate me to no end (hmmmm… wonder where you got all those traits from? 😉 ). But on the whole, you simply amaze me.
5 years, baby. 5 years of my life, gone in a flash. And, honestly, I have trouble remembering what life was like without you in it. It’s almost like the day your life started is the day my life started, too. Of course, I have fond memories of my 27 years prior to you, but I really can’t seem to remember what it felt like NOT to be your mom. You have encompassed all of me, in the best way possible. You have no idea how special you are. We’ve never tried to explain to you what makes your presence on this earth so incredible. You don’t know that you weren’t supposed to be here today. You don’t know why Miss Patricia or Miss Bernie or Miss Donna (Nurses) mean so much to you, or why Dr. Mah tells people about you every time he sees you. You have no clue how crazy your first 5 years have been – because from day one, you simply took it all in stride. You fought every obstacle like it was just another day. You have no idea why you going to Kindergarten without Miss Karen (Speech Therapist) makes Mommy so happy. All you care about, today and every day, are things like what color you are wearing (God forbid it be anything other than Pink or Purple) or if you are going to get to see Laila and Max today, or who is picking you up from school, or that Milo is ok and not crying.
Missing your birthday minute today was a true sign of all that has changed for us, baby girl. For the first time ever it didn’t happen, because for the first time ever, it didn’t matter. What matters is that we had a fantastic day together and you know exactly how old you are (you told me easily 20 times). You are strong and smart and creative and beautiful and wonderful. And I am so proud of you.
I love you Abigail. I hope that if you understand nothing else in this letter, that you understand that. Its truly the only thing that matters now.
Happy Birthday Princess.