Today, you are 5. Your are 1,825 days old. Each of those days has taught me a new lesson in life. This morning, you woke up, brought 8 stuffed dogs downstairs from your bed, watched Beethoven (for the millionth time), had pancakes with 5 candles, went to Target to pick out your millionth My Little Pony, and later, we are going to get your ears pierced (!!) and to Build-A-Bear, so you can, of course, build a My Little Pony.
When I was walking at the park this morning, I was listening to Pandora. And how fitting, “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz came on about a mile in. Hippie boy, free spirit Jason Mraz never failed to calm you down when you were a baby. One day we were on our way back from somewhere and you were screaming (you still love to scream) this song came on the radio, and you were quiet for a brief 3 minutes, listening. Of course, I went and bought the CD. It never failed, this song worked every time. I don’t know why. I never really thought a lot about the lyrics, I was just so glad to find something that would calm the car ride screaming.
I won’t put the lyrics up here, because by the time you are old enough to read this, you’ll be old enough to Google it. Or whatever it is that you kids will be doing in 2023. But when I listened to the song today, Ava, this is what I heard:
I’ll be giving it my bestest
And nothing’s gonna stop me but divine intervention.
I reckon, it’s again my turn
To win some or learn some.
No book, no person, no experience has taught me nearly as much as you have. You are you, and that is it. There is no manual for you. You, Ava, are genuinely one-of-a-kind. There is no one like you, and no one I’ve met even comes close. I give it my best every day, and every day I win some and I learn some about you, about me.
No one can be as excited as you. When you are happy, its contagious. Watching you grow has been exhausting and exhilarating. When you can’t master something, you are frustrated. When you can’t get your way or make your point, you are persistent. When you are hangry, you are impossible. When you speak, people listen. You are hilarious without even knowing it. You are so smart it scares me. Daily. You think you are grown. You are empathetic. You worry about the world. You love peanut butter and honey. You love your daddy.
I worry constantly about kindergarten. About adolescence. About college. I guess that’s just what Moms do. I want you to always remember, my baby, that you are strong and kind. Make good friends, and keep them. Love animals, but don’t let one live in your house. They WILL ruin your carpet. Don’t worry too much about what other people think, and work hard to be gentle with the feelings of others. And please, never become a teacher. Or do. You’d be the best. We can talk more about this later. Do what you are called to do, and do it passionately. Be thankful for all of the wonderful people in your life, because good Lord you have so many.
It is so hard to believe that in less than a month, we will send you to kindergarten. You will ride the bus after school. You will carry your monogrammed mermaid backpack and matching lunchbox into a classroom where you don’t know anyone. You’ll wave goodbye to me, grinning ear to ear, and when I get back into my car, I will sob. Because this is just the beginning. I don’t worry that you won’t make friends, I worry that you are going to think you are the teacher. You’re going to be exhausted after school. You’re just not ready for a no nap day. I hope your teacher is bossy, just like you, and lays the smack down really quickly.
Ava, you have everything you need. You are smart, kind, generous, loveable, excitable, and beautiful. Your daddy and I are so beyond blessed to have you. Sometimes it seems like we brought you home from the hospital yesterday, and other times I feel like we’ve known you a lifetime. We love you more than you’ll ever know (until you have a baby. And I hope that baby is just like you.)
And one day, when you’re old enough, probably when you have a daughter of your own, I will read you Tina Fey’s prayer for her daughter.
We love you.