Friday, March 1, 2013

It's your 5th birthday, Tulah Violet!

What a very long and very exciting week!
My big little girl turned five, ya'll!!  This is serious stuff!

She turned 5 on Tuesday... Which is weird because I'm pretty sure she was just born!  But really, even if you try your hardest, time will fly even if you clip it's wings and lock it in a cage.  That's the nature of passing days I reckon.

One day a little girl is born, and a few quick breaths later she's getting ready for kindergarten. 

She's a squishy, sleepy bundle for just a few minutes.  

After 3 or 4 sleepless nights she's curious and unsteady and upright, waddling through longer days and eager to be big.  She just wants to play and laugh and do it herself. 

After that, that little baby is talking very big, feeding herself... She's done with diapers and you can reason with her.  Her heart is tender and she has patience and a gentleness that makes you want to be better.  She feels your pains and your stresses, your joys and pride.  Oh how she wants you to be proud!  She's a little empath; she understands.

She won't know how to handle conflict and is confused when a friend hurts her.  But she will never hurt back.  At four she will ride a bike and learn to read and whistle and tie shoes, simply because she wanted to and she tried.    She will have feet and mind that move at differing rates and have different ideas... But she's graceful in her own way.  She grows tall and narrow, like her baby peach tree planted in the backyard. 

She loves with all she has.

I want Tulah to be her best.  As she gets bigger each day, I see how I am in control of who that may be, and I also see how it's up to her.  It's easy to think, "Oh, we'll do that tomorrow.  We'll do more tomorrow.  We'll work on that tomorrow.  We'll play more tomorrow."  But after 5 years of tomorrows, I know that my opportunities to shape her are going to become less and less available.  Each DAY they're less and less.

I think about who I was when I was 5.  What do I remember?  A lot.  What will Tulah remember?  Maybe even more than I do.  Will she remember me losing my temper, holding her hand, the way I said good morning to her?  Will she recall an absent-minded response more than the times when I'm focused on only her?  Will she remember when I made her a dress-up closet, and the time on the couch she learned to tie her shoes?

Will she remember me showing gratitude and patience?  Will she learn easily and daily what it is to be a friend?  Will she know she has value and ability, will she believe she can do anything?

How many more tomorrows will she want to hold my hand and hug in public?  How many more tomorrows will she run back to me when I take her to school, making sure I get one of those hugs and kisses and assertive, "I love you!"s.    When will she no longer want help picking out shoes?  Will she always like secondhand shopping with me?  Take more pride in a bargain than a brand?  When will she reach that shelf on her own and make her own breakfast?  How many more times will she want my opinion?  How can I keep her wanting to share her stories, her life, her sorrows and embarrassments with me?   When will she stop telling me I'm such a great mommy?  When will she stop thinking it?  How many more tomorrows will she want to be just like me?

So many questions and honestly, so little time!!  I always want to be better, to be more for her.  The days or hours when I'm just preoccupied and busy with everything else that being a mom is all about... Well I never pass those times without regret that I didn't engage enough.  Those little moments to me are massive moments to them.  It's funny how when you're a parent, nothing else matters.  Except everything else matters!!  Everything.  Every thing you do or don't do is absorbed and processed by little eyes and little hearts.  The challenge is making it count.

So today my girl is 5, and 5 is big.  There is no going back, there are no redo's.  There is only tomorrow.  Tomorrow I will take the time to challenge her and uplift her and look into her eyes when she needs to tell me something important.  Tomorrow I will hold her hand and I'll count to ten if I need to, and I'll teach her that thanks is not just a word.  Tomorrow I will mess it all up, but we'll forgive me and do better.  Tomorrow her daddy will make her feel like the most important girl in the world, just like her husband will one day: she'll expect it.  Tomorrow she'll learn that she can do wrong, but she'll know how good it feels to pick up the pieces.  Tomorrow she will not be alone.  Tomorrow she'll feel treasured and adored and so, so important.  She'll learn to value her things and share her gifts.  Tomorrow, and the tomorrows after that.  She'll be a bright light as she goes off into the world, like she has been within our own little one.

 She has always been my sparkle.  Our relationship as mother and daughter will be all kinds of definitions as she grows up and I expect that.  But I want to till the soil now so that maybe we can, at the least, always be growing if nothing else.  We'll grow together as we have these last 5 years and navigate the adolescence that's ahead.  So happy I get to be on her team, my little sweet girl!!  Also, I'm gonna have some pretty embarrassing photos for each of these precious ones.  If anything the blackmail should provide ample incentive not to mess with me ;)

Once she was a little baby, for just a few minutes.  Today she's a five year old.  Happy birthday to my beautiful Tulah Violet!!! 

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