Last week you left your lovey at home. I realized it when we arrived at school and I held my breath waiting for it to dawn on you that you would be parted from something that gave you so much comfort. I was prepared to turn around and drive right back to retrieve him for you, only, there were no tears shed when you noticed his absence. You simply hugged me, asked me to keep him safe for you, and ran off to join your friends.
And, just like that, you were undeniably five. I know it is cliche to say it seems like just yesterday you were an infant, swaddled and new, lying snuggly in the crook of my arm. I’m not the first mother to swear that no time at all has seemed to pass between this day and the one where I eagerly unwrapped you to count each finger and toe in the dim light of a hospital room.
There were most certainly days and months, years even, between then and now, between the day you walked and the day you ran, between the day you spoke a word and the day you wrote one, but some milestones are smaller than others. I didn’t mark your height in pencil on the wall each day, but still you grew. There were days my camera sat untouched, but still you smiled, you laughed, we had moments worthy of capturing.
It is all this in-between that adds a hint of sadness for me to our day of celebration, this feeling that I can’t properly linger in each moment, that some go unnoticed even.
Still, I tell myself I don’t have to constantly look down at you to guide you. There are times when it will have to be enough to feel the weight of your hand in mine. After all, someone has to look forward in order to plot the course, to limit your mis-steps, to ensure you don’t lose your way.
So, Anders, take in the sights, admire the world around you, continue to point out the things worthy of pause when I am rushing you along. (That is something I love best about you.) I will continue to guide you, hand-in-hand, until the day you would rather I just walk alongside you.
Happy fifth birthday, little man.
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