Dear Lilabeans (aka My Lil’ Puddn Pop)
It was this exact time 5 years ago, at 7:04 pm, that you came into the world and made me into a mother. Barely six pounds, so tiny and scrawny, and a terrible feeder and sleeper, you were just so unbelievably clingy and…needy, as I suppose all babies are, but you always seemed so especially demanding. And scary. My first time driving with you alone in the backseat, your high fever and hospitalization when you were only two months, your unusually severe eczema; everything we experienced with you was so foreign and nerve-wracking, I truly marveled every morning when you woke up that we had managed to keep this remarkable little human being alive for another day.
The worries and fears were exhausting and truthfully, I couldn’t wait for you to get older and over this intimidating stage of life. I’d see Facebook photos of other people’s kids, 5 years old and going to school, and the idea of you being that age was just completely unfathomable to me. You were sooo tiny, how would you even look as a big kid? How would you learn to talk? Would you really ever be big enough to go to school? Would you ever sleep on your own?? But somehow, someway, without me even fully realizing it, it happened: you got older.
3 mos, 6 mos, 9 mos, 1 year
2, 3, and 4 years
Sure enough, you learned to talk. Too much, in fact, and now it’s hard to get you to ever stop. You’re still only in preschool but your rate of learning continues to astound me. It seems only weeks ago you were still writing just a few letters and numbers, and most of them backwards. And now, just last week, you proudly wrote out the entire alphabet and all your numbers for me, and you eagerly love to help your baby brother with his writing. And though it was a long time coming, in just the last two months you even conquered sleeping on your own and you haven’t looked back since. Yes, the big kid I wished for is here, and I swear I didn’t see it coming.
These past 5 years have been a blur. They always say it goes by so fast, and I just shrugged it off because when you were 6 months old and your Daddy and I still weren’t getting any sleep at night, that old adage sure didn’t seem to be true. But with every passing day, I gained a little more confidence in my ability to care for you and just learned to appreciate the moment in time and you in all your sublime “baby-ness”. And how could I not with that dazzling smile you laid on me every day?
The time has come and gone, in the blink of an eye, just like they all said it would. And I am stunned. Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.
I know I have many years of new and exciting things to look forward to with you. Because of your older cousins, you’re already telling me how you can’t wait for high school and college and to wear a ‘married dress”. But what I’m currently looking forward to are the things that will happen just a wee bit sooner, like you going to Kindergarten, your first trip to Disney World, and your excitement about finally advancing out of preschool gymnastics and into the “real class with the big girls”, just to name a few. I know your little life is still only just beginning, and I am eager to take my place at your side to observe lovingly as you navigate your way, but there is a wistful part of me that wishes you were still so little, so cuddly, so...needy.
You’re so delighted in turning 5 today. This is major for you, and it’s all you’ve been talking about since the day you turned 4. We had your “Elsa party” for you yesterday, and in the evening after everyone had left and I was giving you goodnight kisses and tucking you into bed, you giggled with glee and awe that you’d be 5 when you woke up.
I tickled you while exclaiming that I wasn’t going to let you turn 5 and that I wanted you to be my 4 yr old baby forever. Laughing, you sat up in bed and wrapped your arms around my neck, and said matter of factly, “You can’t keep me a baby, Mommy. You have to let me grow up”
I squeezed you tightly, held you longer and harder than usual and said “You’re right, I do.”
And I smiled at you because I’m ready.
And I choked back tears because I’m not.
Mommy loves you, Lila