This week marks your 5th birthday, my first baby. It’s kind of weird to think that I’ve been a mom for five whole years, because it feels like just yesterday we brought you, a squirmy pink little ball of smiles, home with us. Even if it wasn’t yesterday, I remember it like it was. I remember the intoxicating smell of your newborn skin and the sheer terror of not knowing what I was doing and the constant worrying and checking for breaths and the midnight feedings. I remember the delirious Google sessions and 3am texts to our favorite nurse auntie about every weird thing happening and the wondering aloud whether your coughs sounded normal or like a seal. I remember sweet snuggles and sleepy coos. I remember you laughing at me for the first time when I gagged because you had pooped all over yourself. And I remember the first time you grabbed my finger with your fist as you nursed, like you wanted to hold on forever.
I can’t believe you’re five, but oh, what a five-year-old you are, my dear. Despite all the things I loved about you as a baby and then a bouncy toddler, there are so many things I love about you right this minute.
I love your independent spirit, the way you carefully choose your outfit for the next day, mismatching on purpose. The way you have very specific instructions, whether it’s for cupcakes or your hair-do or the specific plate and bowl and spoon and fork you like at dinner. The way you walk away from me at school, a quick kiss and then mom-it’s-time-for-class-see-you-later. The way I find you in your room, under a pile of books, choosing the one that feels just right at that exact moment. The way you stand up for yourself when you feel something is unfair.
I love your curious mind, always asking questions, and then re-asking them when you don’t like the answers or think there might be a better way. You ask the big questions like, “Did God make that tree, Mommy?” and the little ones, “What’s for dinner?” You watch everything and everyone around you and you name the patterns you see, in behavior, in stories, in routines, in words.
I love your imaginative mind, the way we role-play Elephant and Piggie books, you correcting me when I miss a word or don’t use the right intonation for a question or exclamation mark. I love your collections of things, the rocks and shells and trinkets that I find in little bags and boxes in all corners of the house. I love that when we play, everything has a story–a lego piece, a barbie, a crayon. Everything has it’s own voice and it’s own self. I hope as you grow that you remember that about every person you meet, always; it will serve you well, my sweet girl.
I love your confidence, your arms swinging by your side, your feet marching with a purpose. You’re so sure of yourself in a way that I find myself envious of. You are proud of every piece of art you make–“Isn’t it beyoooootiful, Mommy?” The day you took your hairbrush out of my hand and said, “I can do it myself, Mama,” I handed it over but my heart broke a little; my little girl was leaving and this new big one was taking her place.
I love your compassion for others, the way you say, “but that’s so mean, Mommy!” when we read stories about kids whose feelings get hurt. The concern for friends’ tears and bumps and bruises. The way you lovingly pat the dog when she’s freaking out about firework noises. The hugs and kisses you give your brother after he falls down or bumps his head or is just plain tired and cranky. Speaking of your brother, you handled the transition into big sisterhood (mostly) like a champ. You love him, cuddle him, teach him, read and sing to him, giggle with him. Even though he doesn’t know it yet, he’s lucky to have such a great sister in you.
There are millions of other things I love about you, like the way you squint your eyes and smile with every single one of your teeth and the way you swing so high I’m afraid you’ll slip right out and the way you push a chair over to help me in the kitchen. I could go on for days. My love, today is your birthday. And I’m so happy to be your mom. You are sweet and sassy in just the right way. I hope you know how much you are loved by me and by everyone else you meet. Happy birthday, baby girl.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. This book was just so beautiful. The scenery, the lyrical prose, the mystery, the resilience of a young girl abandoned by everyone she knows. I loved the poetry woven throughout the story, I loved the idea that learning to read opens up an entire world, and I loved the accidental family she made for herself. All the stars for this one!
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. I don’t know how I made it through school without reading this one, but I’m so glad I’m reading it now. I love how she draws us into her life, describes it so well it’s like we’re there with her.
The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. If you are into personality typing and need a great overview of the Enneagram, this is a good one! They go through each of the nine types one by one, giving great descriptors and examples. I’m learning so much. I haven’t quite nailed down my Enneagram number yet, but I feel like I’m close.
Currently Cooking: Paleo Chicken Nuggets ala Chick Fil-A + Cobb(ish) Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup arrowroot powder or tapioca flour
- 1/2 tsp each: garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 egg, whisked
- 1-2 boneless sinless chicken breasts- cubed or in strips
- 1/4-1/2 cup avocado oil
- for salad: romaine lettuce (or whatever green stuff), avocado, hard boiled eggs, bacon, pistachios, shredded cheese if you want- really put anything you love in a salad here
- dressing: 1/2 cup mayo, 1 tsp mustard, 1/2-1 tsp honey, to taste
- Mix all dry ingredients together in a shallow dish.
- In cast iron skillet, heat oil. I use enough to coat the bottom of the pan and then a little more. Wait until it’s hot to put chicken in.
- Dip chicken in egg and then dredge in dry mixture. Place in oil and cook 2-3 minutes on each side or until brown and crispy.
- Mix up salad, add chicken, add dressing, voila! It’s delicious. One of our favorite weeknight meals!
Thanks for reading and until next time, peace and love from my household to yours.