Just like that, you kids grow up. They’ve always warned me, but now I’m seeing it with my own eyeballs. You, my girl- my baby– are growing up. Five. Years. Old.
Elizabethy, you are such a joy. I love to just stand back and watch you with your friends. You’re kind. Empathetic. A tiny bit dramatic. (Who KNEW there could be so much drama on the preschool playground?) You have an uncanny ability for remembering the name of every person you meet. Because you care about them. You’re well-loved, and you love well.
You are a fan of all things sparkly, twirly, shiny, and fancy. Dubbing yourself a “fashion designer”, you change clothes approximately seventyhundred times a day. You are rarely seen without your sequined cat purse. And you have recently fallen head over heels with Barbie. Your ONLY request for your birthday was “a Ken with no shirt on”. I don’t know even know.
‘Lil Bit, you also LOVE animals. Particularly dogs. Particularly our drooly, goofy, overweight bulldog, Lucy, who sleeps in bed with you, perks up when you walk into a room, and obeys you (and no one else). When you came home from Congo, you were absolutely petrified of any and all animal. Gnats. Cats. Dogs. And yet, you now want to be a vet when you grow up. Love it.
You have always been a big fan of eating. Still are. Unless I put a veggie in front of you, that is. And you love to help me cook. Sometimes, when you’re standing at the kitchen counter with me, stirring pizza dough or licking boxed-brownie-batter spatulas, I start thinking about the what-might’ve-beens. I picture you with your beautiful Congo mama- how you might have stood right next to her as she boiled and mashed and stirred. I imagine the cooking. The singing. The stunning backdrop of Congo’s landscape. The love.
I can get caught up in the should’ve beens and could’ve beens. But, even then, I always come back to the same truth: you, my girl, are so loved. Loved by people all over this great world. Precious to many. And we could not be more privileged to call you “daughter”.
Happy fifth birthday, darling girl. Enjoy your shirtless Ken doll. (AS IF we could tell you no…)