Today you turn 5! How can I even begin to write what I feel today? This is such a momentous birthday in so many ways. This year you will start Kindergarten, and move to a new school. This year you are officially no longer "toddlerish". When you were born I had a small webpage set up for you. At the very bottom it had all of the stats about your birthday like your birthstone, flower.... It said "will start Kindergarten in the year 2011". I remember reading that with so much disbelief that it would ever really be here. 2011 felt like it was a million years away. I was still learning to live day to day, moment to moment. I hadn't learned how to plan ahead for you yet or what to expect. Now here we are and I love it!
Today you turn 5 and I couldn't be more proud of the little girl you have become. You have worked so hard to do all of the things that you want to do and this is the age that you are finally able to reap some of the benefit. You are almost at the end of your preschool years and will be entering that grade that I looked ahead at not knowing what it would look like for you. Now here we are, about to embark on this next hurdle. IEP is done and you are ready to go to big girl school. You will be at the school that I used to teach at and I couldn't ask for a better place for you to begin your educational journey. I feel safe and loved there, I feel protected and supported and heard. With that comes the feeling that you will have that also. It is a place I consider filled with family even though I have been gone longer than I taught. It was such a great place to teach and I am SO excited that my "school family" will get to be there with us through this year of firsts. You are ready and I am trying so hard to stand back and let you fly.
Today you turn 5 and I am loving the contrast between where I visualized we would be today and where we really are. The day you were born was a day filled with uncertainty and fear. It left us numb and feeling like we weren't equipped to teach you how to live in this world. We were so wrong and I LOVE that. I am supposed to be teaching you how to be the best person you can be so you can live your life happy and fulfilled. The reality is that that is exactly what you have given me in my life just by being here. All you had to do was show up and I am the one learning. I am the one growing. I hope that I am returning the favor well enough.
Today your turn 5. Today you have made it. You love your sister and kiss and hug her goodbye each morning before you leave for school. You have learned to sing this year and I hear you singing along with all kinds of songs. You love to dance and many afternoons are spent having a dance party with just us girls. You love Tinkerbell and Toy story and puzzles. You have learned how to trace your name and are independently writing the letter N. You are still stubborn and defiant when you want to do something and we won't let you (hmmmmm I wonder where you get that?) but you are now able to verbalize what you want so much more than last year at this time. We have learned that you are much more sensitive than we realized and you have shown empathy for other people for the first time this year. Your favorite person in the entire universe is still your Daddy and I hope that he will always hold that spot for you. He is the first man you ever loved and if your daddy (and a shotgun) has his way..... he always will be. ;)
Today you turn 5 and I can't believe how fast the time has gone. I feel like we just brought you home and yet I feel like that was a million years ago. It amazes me how different we all are in just 5 years and I can't wait to see what you will be like this time next year. You are everything I ever wanted plus a little something extra. Most people will read that and think "how cute, she incorporated the extra chromosome", the people who are in the Down syndrome community and on this journey with us along with our families will know there is so much more to that statement.
Today you turn 5.....and I feel so lucky that I get the honor of being your mommy. Happy birthday sweet girl. We love you more than I could ever begin to put into words.