Five is the gift

I went to sleep last night next to a four year-old and woke up next to a five-year old. However that happened, I have no idea.

(And I don’t mean the sleeping next to part. That happened because the universe bequeathed me with crappy sleepers.)

Every year, we’ve been down at the beach with family over Thalia’s birthday weekend, and so I’ve marked time seeing how big Thalia is each July 6 at the same dining room table. How she’s gone from plugging her ears at the loud booms in the sky to the self-invented “fireworks dance” designed to make them come sooner. How she’s gone from little girl I pushed down to the ice cream stand in a carriage, to little girl who picks out her own cone with rainbow sprinkles.

How she’s gone from strong rider of tricycles to wobbly rider of a big girl training bike. How she has become the girl who puts on her own swimsuit and buckles her own sandals.

How she races down the street to the neighbor’s house, no longer asking me to lead the way. How she races into the ocean, no longer asking me to take her hand.

How she has simply become a girl. A big girl

Today my little bean is five. It’s not fair that those first five years are behind us already. It’s magical that those first five years are behind us already.

This birthday however, I am thinking of more than how she has changed in the five years that she has graced us with the joy of her presence. I am thinking of how I have changed in the five years since I have been her mother. How I want to continue to change. I think I’m onto something.

Live the moments, mamas. Put down the crossword, look up from the laptop, turn off the cell phone. Come home early from work. Say yes to walks around the block for no reason. Enjoy the Saturday morning cartoons. Let them stay up for one more story. Rub their backs. Jump the waves.

This moment–any moment–only comes once.

My birthday gift to Thalia, beyond the Wiffle ball and bat, beyond the ice cream cake or the new party dress, is more of me, more of the time. She kisses me goodnight saying, You’re the best mom I ever had. I want to have earned that.


God, it goes fast.

Happy birthday my sweet, beautiful girl. You’re the best Thalia I ever had.


44 thoughts on “Five is the gift”

  1. Got me all in tears there. It's just so true, and my little one is only 16months. It just seems like overnight they are able to do these little things which I swear she was not able to do last week. I try my best to savour every moment and there are moments when it is easy and moments when it is not so easy. But I love her every second of ever day.

    I hope you celebrate little Thalia's b-day in a wonderful way. She's come so far and she's got far to go yet, but for now she's 5 and she will never be 5 in this lifetime again.


  2. happy birthday to all of you. My daughter celebrated her 12th birthday this weekend. We were at my parents' house upstate and she was standing in the kitchen, next to a table corner that I used to worry she'd smash her head into, because when she was three, it was right at her temple. It's at her hip now. Good lord, it goes by fast.

  3. Happy birthday! And congrats to you, too–five years ago you had a sweet little girl. That's a wonderful thing!

    It is important to enjoy the time we have with our children. My oldest will be turning fifteen next week. It went fast. But, you know, I don't feel “sad” that she isn't a baby anymore. It's been so incredible and wonderful watching her grow into the person she is. I'm finding that enjoying who she is every day (well, most days, some of those “teenage days” I could do without) is so great that I wouldn't trade a minute of it.

  4. My daughter turned 5 about three weeks ago, and I've thought of nothing else in the past three weeks. How did it go so fast? How can I make it slow down? How can I love her more, enjoy her more, keep more of her for me? Are the next five years going to go even faster?

    Please, no.

    Happy birthday to your big girl.

  5. Happy birthday to your firstborn and congrats to you. If the last 8 months are any indication, five is a wonderful age. And all the better because I remember being five myself.

  6. Happy Birthday, Thalia!

    And congrats to you, for surviving and thriving for five years as a parent.

  7. Five is really good. Old enough to yes, put on their shoes and “get ready to go,” but not so old they don't want to climb in your lap at every opportunity; old enough to start reading to themselves but young enough to still get utterly, unself-consciously lost in their own magical worlds. They start looking like “big kids” but their cheeks still have a little bit of baby dumpling in them, perfect for kissing. Happy birthday to BOTH of you.

  8. And to my daughter, of whom I am so proud: What a gift you've given to all of us not only by creating two remarkable daughters but also by continually bearing witness to the events and memories that are so easy to forget. You've chosen to give Thalia the best gift a mother could give-time, and I know how much Virgos keep promises.

  9. I'll be in your shoes in about 6 months. I keep trying to remind myself NOW of all of the things I take for granted that I will mourn once they have passed me by. Walking away from the keyboard now and going to watch some Max and Ruby with a little princess.

  10. Happy Birthday, darlin' girl! We sure hope you'll come visit and help us break in our fire pit!

    (Man, the time goes fast… Having kids totally out of diapers totally blows my mind.)

  11. How sweet, I think of that often as these summer days pass by. I think of them more when I get angry or upset over stuff my little ones do because I don't want to rush these moments away (well maybe those moments potty training) but this has reminded me to be more mindful of my time with them

  12. Happy birthday to Thalia.

    This was beautiful Liz. I think it's possibly that I have been reading here since she was born. How cool is that?

  13. Happy birthday Thalia! I've found myself doing the same thing since my girl turned 5 last December, trying to grab the special moments and cherish them. When I remember – so thank you for reminding me.

  14. Five has been the most amazing year for my son. I hope the same is true for your daughter.

    Happy bday.

  15. oh, oh, oh, that was beautiful, Liz. my daughter turned 6 on the Fourth of July and I just can't believe it. Thanks for telling me to put down the crossword puzzle (or in my case, the computer) and enjoy the moment. XXOO

  16. That is such sound advice and time does pass by too quickly! Hope Thalia had a great birthday!

  17. dude – don't make me cry right before bed! beautiful…and sad…and happy…and i can't believe i'll be right there with you some day.

  18. Happy birthday to Thalia! This is a wonderful post- wishing many more beautiful years for you both to enjoy together. 🙂

  19. Incredible how those little lumps grow fast and become these really awesome beings. It's a glorious process and you're enjoying it just the way you're supposed to! Happy birthday, to Thalia and to you!

  20. Crying. A year. What's a year? To me, no big whoop. To them? It's a half or a quarter or a fifth of their lives. My blink of a year is their entire personal development. It is the leap of a giant. You've been a mommy for five years, Liz. Five long short years. You go, girl. Happy birthday to you and to Thalia.

  21. Happy [belated] birthday to your 5yo. I have a 5yo, too, and it does go fast.

    In my family, we say, “You're my favorite [name].” And when they say back, “Your my favorite Mommy/Daddy” I feel that same thing: I want to have earned that.

    I need a Kleenex. Gorgeous post.

  22. BEAUTIFUL! I am wiping away the tears as I type. As a mother to two girls myself I totally relate to the bittersweetness of each birthday. Thanks for the little kick in the rump too. I am closing the laptop now to go join my girls in their room…probably to play the part of the Queen of Hearts, they love that one 🙂

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