Five. FIVE. Happy five years to my first-born Leo, my sunshine child. Five was always the magic cut-off in my head, a clear dividing line between baby/toddler and big kid. And you are. The other day I walked by the bathroom where you were washing your hands, and you were standing on the ground, no stool required. When did that happen?!? “When did that happen?” I asked you. You shrugged and said “Oh Mom, I’m bigger now”. In the car later that day, as you buckled yourself into your car seat, I told you that I wanted you to stay five, forever. You just looked at me with a wise smile, then laughed and said, “Oh Mom, you know that’s impossible”.
Yes, I know it’s impossible. Today you are five years and 4 days already. The march towards six, seven, twelve, will never cease. But today you are five, and you can’t blame me for wanting you to stay. Five, for you, is a joy; a perfect mix of little enough to need me, but big enough to do things on your own.
You are still our little mayor, an extroverted social butterfly. You love people, all people, talking to everyone you see and meet. Recently at your great-grandmother GG’s memorial service, I found you sitting at a table filled with GG’s bridge friends. You were chatting and drawing pictures. I asked you if you wanted to come sit with me and the other kids, and you said “No, Mom, I’m sitting here with my new friend Gladys, I’ll find you later”. And you sat with these old ladies you had never met before for over an hour, telling them about your life and asking about theirs. Then you found some little boys your own age and walked up to them and said “Hi, I’m O, let’s play”. And you did, playing chase and hide and seek for hours. What I love most about all of this is your confidence and complete certainty that everyone is someone to make a friend and that everyone wants to talk to you. You talk to anyone and everyone, with the same brightness and desire to make them happy. It is a true gift you have, and I hope you never doubt it or quash it.
You are mostly a rule-follower and people-pleaser. You are a thinker and a questioner. You want to know about everything, and you want everyone to be happy. You are a way-too generous big brother. Your little sister is two, so she does things like hit and throw tantrums and want every toy you have, and then she mixes up the play dough or colors on walls. And without fail, you are her defender. You tell me it’s ok, you don’t mind she hit you or broke your toy, because she’s only two. You are the first to hug her when she cries. And you like to be the first to go into her room in the morning and you climb into her crib with her and read her stories and make her giggle. She adores you, as she should.
Five is countless hours planning your extensive LEGO city, and countless other hours building and tinkering, making things better. Five is an easier bedtime- a few books, some Willie Nelson music, a chat, and then door shut, with your dog at your side. Five is being big enough to go on Splash Mountain and Tower of Terror at Disneyland, but still being afraid of being alone. Five is endless questions. Why are vampires pale? Why is the earth invented? Why does God only have a son and not a daughter? Why is crap a bad word? Can I say heck? Is hell real? Why are windshields made of glass? They should be made of invisible bricks. And so on. And on and on and on and on.
You love a girl named Emma. You aren’t sure she wants to marry you, but you hope she does. You bring her flowers to put on her car seat, and you want her to be happy.
You are really really really into: LEGOS, police, firemen, the army, play dough, coloring. You have really blossomed this year with coloring and drawing and writing. You got glasses for reading and you look so cute and handsome in them. You work really hard, and tell me you should never give up, always try harder. You were very determined to learn to swim this summer so you could go off the diving board when you turned five, and you did it. You are a fantastic swimmer and I love watching you swim.
You are a true joy in my life. No you aren’t perfect, but every day I thank God and the universe and science that your particular set of genes was the winning combination that became you. I watch you with awe because you are so unlike me, and yet so like me. You are the very best of me and your father, and I think the world is a better place because you are in it.
You are five, and you are a wonder. Thank you for being my most awesome kid, and I love you.